Olympian defended over 'riot jersey' attacks

Top News | Maisy Mok and Angel Woo 26 Jul 2021

Hong Kong badminton player Angus Ng Ka-long says he wore a black jersey at the Tokyo Olympics because he did not get the approval to wear the Hong Kong flag on his clothes.

Ng, the city's top men's badminton player, was seen in the unconventional attire when he played in the men's singles group match on Saturday, which he won 2-0.

He wore a black T-shirt with his name and the words "Hong Kong China" printed on the back, which drew fire from pro-Beijing netizens as the attire was reminiscent of black-clad protesters in the 2019 Hong Kong social unrest. But some sports officials came to his defense.

And in an Instagram post yesterday Ng said his sponsorship with sports equipment firm Yonex had ended so he prepared his clothes for the competition himself. He chose to wear a jersey from athletic apparel company Lululemon because it was comfortable for him, adding he was not authorized to print the HK flag.

"I have always felt proud to represent Hong Kong," he wrote. Ng said he hopes to fix the attire issue before his next match today.

Comments criticizing Ng for wearing "black riot clothes" appeared on XinhuaHK's Facebook page on Saturday, after it posted pictures of Ng wearing the T-shirt.

Nicholas Muk Ka-chun, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, slammed Ng, saying: "Please withdraw from the game if you do not want to represent Hong Kong, China."

But Civic Passion lawmaker Cheng Chung-tai said it was not the athlete's issue and that government officials should be blamed for the jersey not having the SAR emblem.

Badminton team head coach Tim He Yiming said a jersey with the Hong Kong flag for Ng is in the works.

"Ng did not violate the rules. Otherwise he would not be able to join the match. This is what everybody should know," he said.

Kenneth Fok Kai-kong, vice president of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China, said Ng's sponsorship ended less than a month before he went to Japan so he was unable to get a new sponsor.

Fok said he believed Ng did not "think too much" when choosing what to wear.

Wong Kwok-kin, pro-establishment Executive Council member, said critics of the incident are "overly sensitive" for thinking the "black-shirt riot" has returned when they saw the black jersey and that they owe Ng an apology.

DAB lawmaker Cheung Kwok-kwan said the Hong Kong Badminton Association lacked thorough arrangements, which led to the public's misunderstanding.

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