Why can China have three Olympic teams at the Tokyo Games?

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Two teams from two different Chinese cities facing each other in a badminton match might not seem unusual. On Chinese territory, these teams face each other all the time. However, this match took place in the semifinal of the modality during the Tokyo Olympic Games. To the China, being able to field two different teams on the field seems to be the best of both worlds. In addition to the continent’s red uniform, we can also see the royal blue of Hong Kong.

The multiple formation of teams in China in Olympics the equivalent, for example, to the United States put a national team and another team of athletes exclusively from New York never been a big problem… until now in Tokyo.

First of all, Hong Kong is winning medals like never before. Tokyo is being the most successful game of all time for the city of 7.5 million people on the south coast of China. The gold medal in men’s fencing this week, with athlete Edgar Cheung, was Hong Kong’s first since the former British colony was taken over by China again in 1997.

When windsurfer Lee Lai Shan had so far won Hong Kong’s first and only gold at the 1996 Atlanta Games, “God Save the Queen” was played during a medal ceremony. In Tokyo, it was the anthem of China (“March of the Volunteers”). Currently, even with the team division, the anthem played during the podium in Hong Kong is still Chinese.

And it’s not just Hong Kong: Should athletes from the Pacific Island of Guam or the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean take the podium in Tokyo, the anthem their athletes would hear would be the US anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.” As US territories, they compete under their own flags in games such as Hong Kong. American Samoa and Puerto Rico also have their own teams.

Swimmer Siobhan Haughey, born in Hong Kong, also won two silver medals in Tokyo, becoming the first athlete to win more than one medal for her city. Its combined collection of medals surpasses the gold, silver and bronze that Hong Kong has amassed in all of its previous performances since its Olympic debut in 1952.