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Tuesday, August 23, 2016, 00:50

Tickets to see Olympic stars sell out in three hours

By Li Xiange
Tickets to see Olympic stars sell out in three hours
China's flagbearer Lei Sheng leads the Chinese delegation during the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro on Aug 5, 2016. (Photo / AFP)

HONG KONG - Many ardent sports fans in Hong Kong were upset on Monday as about 5,700 tickets for sports demonstration events held here by Olympic medalists from the national team sold out in just three hours.

A delegation of the national team’s gold medalists is slated to give sport demonstrations during a three-day visit to Hong Kong – their first stop when they return home – from Saturday to Monday. Similar visits have been made since the 2000 Sydney Games.

Tickets for the three public events were up for sale at four locations Monday morning. There were long queues before the sales began at 10 am. Some enthusiasts waited overnight. Each buyer was allowed to have no more than two tickets.

Priced at HK$20 each, the tickets were quickly scalped at popular e-commerce site for up to 1,000 yuan ($150, or HK$1,164) for the most popular sports such as table tennis and diving.

Cecilia Wang Yixuan, a postgraduate student at City University of Hong Kong, started waiting around 5 pm Sunday with nine friends to secure a chance to meet her hero, table tennis gold medalist Zhang Jike.

Local student Wu Wing-shan said she is keen to meet her favorite player – table tennis star Ding Ning – for the second time.

The 21-year-old said the demonstration would offer Hong Kong residents a good opportunity to observe firsthand the techniques of top-level mainland athletes.

Also on the popular must-see list is the diving team’s performance.

Poon Ching-sheung, 62, took a day’s leave to queue up for the tickets. Poon said she expected to see famous diver Wu Minxia – a record-setting five-time Olympic diving gold medalist.

For diving enthusiast Francis Lam Hau-kan, 35, female diving gold medalist He Zi is the best.

On Sunday, the athletes will give badminton and table tennis demonstrations at Queen Elizabeth Stadium from 9:30 am to 11:30 am. There will be a diving demonstration at Victoria Park Swimming Pool from 10 am to 11:30 am the same day.

A variety show will be held on Sunday afternoon. The public can interact with the athletes at the event.

The delegation will visit the Hong Kong Sports Institute on the last day of their Hong Kong leg and share their experience with elite local athletes before leaving for Macao.

Although Hong Kong athletes are bringing no medals back from the Rio Olympics, they showed competitiveness and perseverance and enjoyed strong support from Hong Kong society.

Four years ago at the London Olympics, racing cyclist Sarah Lee Wai-sze won a bronze medal in the women’s keirin.

Hong Kong athletes have won three medals in previous Olympic Games. The other two were won by Lee Lai-shan – gold medal in the women’s sailboard in 1996 Atlanta Olympics – and Ko Lai-chak and Li Ching – silver medal in men’s doubles in table tennis in Athens, 2004.

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