China's Olympic gold medallists feel strain on Hong Kong tour

Other News Materials 1 September 2008 09:01 (UTC +04:00)

Three of China's Olympic gold medallists have fainted or fallen ill during an exhausting tour of Hong Kong and Macau to celebrate their victories, a news report said Monday. ( dpa )

Women's rowing gold medallist Zhang Yangyang passed out Sunday during a toast at a reception hosted by Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang, the South China Morning Post reported.

Trampolinist He Wenna and diver Wu Minxia later fell ill in Macau and had to miss some of their official engagements on the hectic whirlwind tour of the former British and Portuguese colonies.

Several other members of the 63-strong party of gold medallists on the patriotic tour appeared to nod off or fall asleep during a banquet in Macau Sunday evening.

Before she fainted, Zhang had been sitting out in 32 C degree heat during a visit to Hong Kong's Ocean Park theme park and also visited Disneyland.

Hong Kong Olympic Committee president Timothy Fok told reporters afterwards Zhang probably fainted because of the humid weather and hectic schedule.

The visit by the gold medallists from China has been criticized by some pro-democracy activists for coming a week before critical elections in the former British colony.

They say it is intended to whip up patriotic feeling ahead of the polls in which pro-democracy candidates will contend against pro-China candidates for a limited number of legislature seats.

Pro-Beijing sentiment in Hong Kong has risen steadily since the city of 6.9 million reverted to Chinese rule in 1997 after 156 years of British colonial rule.