After the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics wrapped on Sunday 8 August, sports fans are now eagerly looking forward to the Tokyo Paralympic Games. From August 24 to September 5, around 4,400 Para athletes from more than 160 countries and territories will compete across 22 sports. Once upon a time, the Paralympics was treated as an afterthought to the Olympics and although there still is a long way to go before Paralympians receive the same spotlight, training investment and sponsorship deals as Olympic athletes, the Paralympics of today are higher profile than ever before.
The Hong Kong 2020 Paralympics delegation will consist of 24 athletes encompassing eight sports, namely archery, athletics, boccia, equestrian, swimming, table tennis, wheelchair fencing and badminton, the latter making its Paralympics debut this year. A further team of 40 people, including coaches, sports scientists and medical officials, will join the athletes in Tokyo.
Unlike Hong Kong’s Olympic medal tally, which until this year's windfall comprised just three medals, Hong Kong Paralympians have won a total of 126 medals comprising 40 gold, 37 silver and 49 bronze, since participating in its first Paralympic Games in 1972 in Heidelberg, Germany.
With seven competitors poised for the Games, boccia players form Hong Kong's largest Paralympic cohort. A sport created for people with severe physical disabilities affecting motor skills, boccia is a ball game likened to bowls in its objective: throw or roll balls as close as possible to a target ball, or jack, tactically knocking the opposition's ball out of the way. However, Hong Kong’s strongest sport is wheelchair fencing, which has earned the city gold medals at every Paralympics since Atlanta 1996, thanks to the combined efforts of former competitors Chan Yui-chong and Fung Ying-ki, and Alison Yu Chui-yee, the latter of whom will appear at her fifth Games this year.
Here are eight Hong Kong athletes to look out for at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Ngai Ka-chuen - Archery
Ngai Ka-chuen, Hong Kong’s only bowman at this year’s Games, is a mainstay at archery meets around the world. He won outright the compound men open contest at the Asian Continental Qualification Tournament for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games in Bangkok, Thailand in 2019 and will bring his best shot to the Yumenoshima Park Archery Field alongside archers from across the globe.