HK paddler dreaming of flag-raising ceremony at Tiananmen Square with Olympic medal

(Xinhua) 13:20, August 15, 2021

Doo Hoi-kem (L), Lee Ho-ching (C) and Minnie Soo Wai-yam of Hong Kong, China pose with their bronze medals after the table tennis women's team event at Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 5, 2021. (Xinhua/Wang Dongzhen)

HK paddler Doo Hoi-kem's hopes of visiting Tiananmen Square with her Olympic medal drew much praise from netizens from all over China.

HONG KONG, Aug. 14 (Xinhua) -- "I want to visit Tiananmen after the Tokyo Olympics", said paddler Doo Hoi-kem of Hong Kong, China, whose comments went viral on social media after she took the bronze with her teammates in the table tennis team event at Tokyo 2020.

"No problem","Welcome to Beijing". These words trended widely online as fans embraced Doo on China's Twitter-like Weibo, which came as a surprise to the 24-year-old.

"When I got up the next day, my friends told me about that, I felt very surprised. The fans on Weibo are from all over the country, they welcomed me to visit their hometowns, it made me happy," Doo, who was put into isolation immediately after returning to Hong Kong, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

Doo disclosed that she has been to many mainland cities and has visited Tiananmen Square several times.

Athletes from both Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, China pose for photos together after the awards ceremony for the table tennis women's team event. (Xinhua/Wang Dongzhen)

"But I still expect to visit Tiananmen Square again, especially watch flag-raising ceremony in the morning, with my medal," she said.

Hong Kong made a historic record in Tokyo, as it beat Germany to clinch a bronze in the table tennis women's team event, which China won the gold.

Doo said she felt proud to stand on the podium to sing the national anthem with China's national flag and the flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region being hoisted simultaneously, a situation she had experienced at Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in 2014, when she took silver in the women's singles and bronze in team event.

"From Nanjing Youth Olympics to Tokyo Olympics, from a youth to an adult, it's a delight to see the growth," she said.

In Tokyo, Doo has participated in three events including singles, mixed doubles and team event. She felt tired when she and her partner Wong Chun-ting were stunned by French pair Emmanuel Lebesson and Yuan Jianan in the mixed doubles, but she bounced back quickly with good performances in the rest events.

"I burst into tears after the mixed doubles, we put a great deal into it, but the result was lower than expected. My coach encouraged me, then I adjusted the state of my mind, it is a wealth that taught me how to deal with the pressure."

Petrissa Solja (L, rear) and Shan Xiaona (R, rear) of Germany compete against Doo and Lee during the table tennis women's team bronze medal match. (Xinhua/Yang Lei)

Five years ago at the Rio Olympics, Doo was utterly inferior when taking on favorite Ding Ning as she just got 16 points after four sets.

Doo was still "unlucky" when she set up with top seed Chen Meng in women's singles quarterfinals at Tokyo Olympics, but this time, she showcased her progress as she took a 2-0 shock lead.

"When I was up by two sets, Team China's coach Liu Guoliang spoke loudly to Chen on the stand, without spectators, I heard every word he said," Doo laughed.

Despite being overturned by Chen, Doo was still satisfied with her performance, "after all, Team China is hard to beat".

"After that it went smoothly in team event. In the whole campaign, I rated myself between 80 and 90 percent. We spent eight months training on the mainland, it was not in vain."

"The medal boosted my confidence. As for my dream, I often wanted to fight for an Olympic medal, to be honest, I didn't believe I could make it, but it came true. So I need to seize the time, to work harder for a better performance in Paris three years later," she noted.

Besides a paddler, Doo also has another identity, that of a member of the All-China Youth Federation. When talking about the title, Doo admitted she felt more responsibility.

"It is an honor, but also a responsibility. I always met elites from all walks of life every time I attended the meeting, from whom I learned a lot. I hope I can have a more outstanding performance on the court, to bring optimism to others," she said.

(Web editor: Guo Wenrui, Bianji)


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