No lockup for athletes

Top News | Leung Pak-hei 25 Nov 2021

Thirty mainland athletes who took part in the Tokyo Olympics and are visiting Hong Kong next month have been granted exemption from quarantine requirements.

The Home Affairs Bureau confirmed the delegation will not be required to go into quarantine upon arrival for a three-day sports demonstration on December 3-5.

All delegation members, including coaches and staff, were fully vaccinated and would undergo tests 48 hours before arrival, it said.

Coaches and staff with the delegation will also be exempted from quarantine and tested before arrival.

The delegation will reportedly use point-to-point transport throughout the visit to minimize the athletes' contacts with citizens.

Speaking yesterday, Commissioner for Sports Yeung Tak-keung said the national team athletes' training and daily life in the mainland have been closely monitored as they are regularly tested for the coronavirus.

"There will also be 'closed-loop' arrangements for the athletes, where they will not be allowed to roam around the city freely and have close contacts with people," said Yeung.

He also said there will be no event allowing interaction between the athletes and Hong Kong residents, such as sports matches.

He said the Hong Kong administration has notified the athletes of the arrangements through the General Administration of Sports in China, and it expressed understanding.

The visiting athletes will be from 12 sports, including table tennis champion Ma Long, who won two gold medals in the Tokyo Olympics, fencing gold medalist Sun Yiwen, and Su Bingtian, the country's 100-meter sprint record holder.

Two groups of athletes will meet the public and stage demonstrations on various sports, including badminton and swimming, at Queen Elizabeth Stadium and Victoria Park Swimming Pool from 9.30am to 11.30am on December 4.

The delegation will take part in a variety show at Queen Elizabeth Stadium from 5pm to 6.30pm on the same day. Tickets will be available for sale at HK$20 starting from this Friday.

Each person can purchase at most two tickets and real-name registration will be required. Television broadcasts will be arranged for the events.

The news came as three athletes of Hong Kong gymnastics team needed to be quarantined after they finished their training in Ukraine, as their Ukrainian coach Sergiy Agafontsey tested positive for Covid-19 before getting on the plane to Hong Kong.

Agafontsev is receiving treatment in Ukraine.

Gymnasts Shek Wai-hung, Ng Ka-ki and Lee Man-hin tested negative but were listed as close contacts and sent to Penny's Bay quarantine facility after returning to Hong Kong on Tuesday night.

The team did training in Poland in September and took part in the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Kyushu, Japan, last month.

Shek took part in the 2012 London Olympics and was the gold medalist in the 2014 and 2018 Asian Games, hosted in Incheon, Korea, and Jakarta, Indonesia. He missed the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics due to his injuries and placed 12th in the vault preliminaries at the Tokyo Olympics.

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