- Chiu Hin-chun and Chan Chi-fung, favourites to reach Tokyo, are gold medal winners at the Asian Championships
- Under-23 women’s singles rower Winne Hung is an outside hope after helping Hong Kong to the coastal world quad title
A gold medal at the Asian Championships has Chris Perry confident of at least one Hong Kong crew at the Tokyo Olympics but the veteran rowing coach is targeting two teams for the 2020 Olympics.
Perry, the Hong Kong Sports Institute's head coach, is counting on the men's lightweight doubles pair of Chiu Hin-chun and Chan Chi-fung to grab one spot at the Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualification Regatta in Chungju, South Korea at the end of April.
The qualifiers are being held at the same venue as October's Asian Championships, where Asian champions Chiu and Chan took gold.
"I am very confident we have the chance to qualify at least one crew and we will go all out to get two if we can. The latter is harder, however," Perry said.
"At the moment (Chiu and Chan) are favourites based on the Asian Championships results. But our women's team also can be strong. We still have our Rio double and also the strong under-23 (rower in) Winne Hung Wing-yan. So we can't discount the women."
Hong Kong claimed one gold, two silvers and a bronze in Chungju. Chiu and Chan teamed up with
Lam San-tung and Wong Wai-chun to take silver in the men's lightweight quadruple sculls, while the men's lightweight four of Chau Yee-ping, Ho Chak-lung, Wong Ho-yin and Wong Wai-lok also won silver. The bronze went to the men's pair of Lam and Wong Wai-chun.
According to Perry, the maximum number of athletes who can qualify for the Olympics in April is four " two men and two women. For that to happen, Hong Kong need to win gold in each of the men's and women's lightweight divisions.
Failing that, the rowers have another chance at a global repechage in May " which will provide tougher competition. Hong Kong had two boats in the 2016 Rio Games " the men's and women's lightweight crews.
Also hoping to qualify are Rio women's pair Lee Ka-man and Lee Yuen-yin, who were 16th at the 2016 Olympics and Hung, who was part of the world champion Hong Kong quad team that took gold at the World Rowing Coastal Championships on home waters in November.
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Perry has high hopes for the 21-year-old Chan, a twice Asian junior champion and Hong Kong record holder on the rowing machine. He will be partnering Asian Games singles silver medallist Chiu in April.
"He is definitely been coming up strongly," Perry said. "Since moving up to senior level he has gradually started to make his mark."
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