A delegation of Chinese athletes who won gold medals at the ongoing Rio Olympics will visit Hong Kong from August 27 to 29, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department said at a press conference on Wednesday.
Athletes will perform demonstrations to members of the public in two sports – table tennis at the Queen Elizabeth Stadium and diving at the swimming pool in Victoria Park – on the morning of August 28. The sporting demonstrations will be followed by a variety show at Queen Elizabeth Stadium in the evening.
A total of 6,600 tickets will be put on sale for the three events, said Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs Lai Chun-yee. The delegation will also meet with young athletes in Hong Kong, before departing for Macau.
The members of the Chinese delegation visiting Hong Kong have not yet been confirmed.
Director of Leisure and Cultural Services Michelle Li Mei-sheung did not respond directly when asked whether the visit would provoke tensions between China and Hong Kong. “We hope that the focus will be on sports and the athletes, and that it would not be mixed with a lot of other thoughts,” she said at the press conference.
China sent its largest-ever delegation of 416 athletes to Rio de Janeiro for the Summer Olympics which began earlier this month. As of August 18, the delegation has won 19 gold, 15 silver and 20 bronze medals, and is placed third behind the United States and Great Britain.
The medal haul so far has been considered disappointing domestically. On Tuesday, the state-controlled Xinhua news agency posted an image of China ranked below Great Britain in the medal table on its Twitter feed, commenting “you kidding me?”
The post has since been deleted.
Some Hongkongers have also complained that the city’s main free-to-air local channel TVB, which is broadcasting the Olympics, has been giving too much airtime to the Chinese national team, rather than Hong Kong.