If you want to support our SAR's badminton medal hopefuls in the Rio Olympics and also be a part of a passionate Hongkongers' rally then head to Soy Street in Mong Kok for 7pm tonight. Local patriotic groups have organised a live broadcast of the Hong Kong vs China Group A mixed doubles badminton match, featuring Hoi-wah Chau and Reginald Lee from our SAR taking on Nan Zhang and Yunlei Zhao from the Mainland.
Tensions could be running high as the broadcast and rally is to be co-hosted by Hong Kong independence advocate Simon Sin alongside the University of Science and Technology student group ProgressUST and Hong Kong Indigenous, a radical organisation that has been accused of inciting the Mong Kok riot in February.
These groups are encouraging Hongkongers, however, to support the city's badminton stars, as well as the HK team overall. Sin spoke with us this morning, saying: "We’re just hoping to get the Hong Kong public out on the street to support and cheer our local athletes. Hopefully, we can also raise awareness on how underrepresented Hong Kong athletes are in the media, especially during the time of the Olympics. But, really, it’s just a community bonding activity."
Sin says the event came about because he saw that TV channels like TVB were, in his opinion, featuring more on the Chinese athletes during the Olympics so far, compared to our local Hong Kong competitors. He says: "In an ideal world, TVB, the official broadcaster of the Olympic Games in Hong Kong, should play all Olympics competitions that feature Hong Kong athletes. I’m not sure why they don't. I’m not sure why TVB only plays 70 percent of the events that feature Hong Kong athletes. The other 30 percent of the games never get played. However, if our event can persuade TVB into broadcasting all of the Hong Kong games, that would be amazing!"
Also an event organiser, Lydia Lam from ProgressUST hopes the screening musters up public support for Hong Kong's athletes. She says: "Despite the sacrifices these athletes make for us, they don’t really receive enough support from our government. Not only does the government not spend enough resources in developing their sports, it provides athletes with a really small monthly allowance compared to most other countries." Lam adds: “I’m hoping this will unite Hongkongers and reignite a sense of patriotism and belonging.”
Sin adds that he is 'not concerned about violating related laws' with regards to tonight's broadcast and rally. He says "We welcome anyone who comes to our event. There will be people who are rooting for the Chinese team and there will be people who are rooting for the Hong Kong team. And that’s totally cool.”