The chef de mission of the Hong Kong delegation to the Tokyo Olympics says athletes should be allowed to focus on the competition rather than being distracted by politics, as he commented on a row over a T-shirt worn by badminton player Angus Ng.
Ng was heavily criticised by DAB member Nicholas Muk and other pro-Beijing figures over the weekend as the T-shirt he wore in the men's singles group match on Saturday only had his name and "Hong Kong China" printed on the back, with no Bauhinia emblem.
The critics were also not happy that the T-shirt was black – a colour associated with Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters.
The 27-year-old shuttler explained on social media that he had to have his own outfit made because he lost his sponsor at the last minute.
Calling a Hong Kong radio show from Tokyo, delegation head Pui Kwan-kay said he believes no athlete would deliberately wear a shirt without the emblem, as they see representing Hong Kong as an honour.
He said what Ng wore met clothing requirements, which don't include emblems.
Pui said the controversy did slightly affect the athlete, but the team hopes to focus on the competition now.
"We hope people would avoid politicising the incident... because our athletes are doing their best to face the competitions. We will focus on the competition now, and hope outside forces won't affect the athletes," he said.
Pui added that arrangements are being made so Ng can wear a T-shirt with the emblem on in future matches.
Meanwhile, Muk's Facebook page – where he published his criticism on Ng's clothing – was no longer accessible on Monday.
Don't distract athletes with politics: HK team chief
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