Let the jersey controversy go, says sports chief

The official in charge of Hong Kong’s sports development on Friday appealed to the public to let the controversy surrounding athletes’ jerseys go, and focus on their performances instead.

The Sports Commissioner, Yeung Tak-keung, was speaking in Tokyo a day after the Hong Kong Badminton Association admitted that an outdated design of the SAR emblem was printed on shuttlers’ on-court clothing at the Olympics.

It’s believed that the emblem printed on the jerseys was the one first approved by the National People’s Congress in 1990, whereas the final official design has narrower petals and bigger stars.

People spotted the mistake when the territory’s top badminton player, Angus Ng, played against and lost to Guatemalan shuttler Kevin Cordon.

In that match, Ng was sporting a dark green and white top with the wrong Hong Kong emblem. It was provided by FILA upon a request by the Hong Kong Badminton Association.

Ng had to wear the shirt after some pro-Beijing figures attacked him for wearing a plain black T-shirt with no emblem in a previous match.

The player then explained that he wore the black shirt because his sponsorship had expired and he did not have the right to print an SAR emblem on a new shirt without authorisation.

“I hope people will let the issue go and instead focus on our athletes’ performances, how they overcome the problems they encountered during training and competitions,” said Yeung.

He said some people made the criticisms before knowing all the facts.

The head of the Hong Kong’s delegation to the Tokyo games, Pui Kwan-kay, meanwhile, said they had been encouraging athletes to focus on and enjoy the competitions and not to be distracted.