Since its inception in 2005, “A.S. Watson Group Hong Kong Student Sports Award” (SSA) has been recognising numerous outstanding student athlete, many of which were inspired by the various activities such as Leadership Workshop and Sports Exchange Tour, finding their direction on the sports ground and also leading a different way of life. Let us now share the inspiring story of our past awardees!
For Shek Wai-hung, “Mr Gymnastics Hong Kong”, 2014 is a year of harvest when he made his historical top finish in the vault final of Incheon Asian Games and clinched Hong Kong’s first-ever Asian Games gymnastics gold medal. Back then, the road of Shek’s full-time athlete life all began with “A.S. Watson Group Hong Kong Student Sports Award” (SSA).
“SSA Strengthened My Determination to be a Full-time Athlete.”
“SSA Strengthened My Determination to be a Full-time Athlete.”Shek Wai-hung was awarded SSA with his brilliant performance in sports in 2007, at the age of 17. He joined the Sports Exchange Tour with other awardees in which he was deeply impressed by the visit to Beijing National Gymnastics Training Centre. He recalls, “Witnessing the national athletes training hard to prepare for the Olympic Games has strengthened my determination to be a full-time athlete.” Returning Hong Kong, Shek officially tendered his application to coach and started to pursue his career in sports, moving on the bright road to the great world of sports ahead.
Not only does SSA inspire Shek to devote himself to the sports world, but it also brings great benefits to Shek through exchanging with other awardees. “I can meet friends from different sports items whom all have their own strengths and merits that I’d love to learn from. Participating in the Exchange Tour has also helped me to build up team spirit and inter-personal communication skills which are definitely beneficial to my athletic life thereafter,” Shek says.Behind the success of Asian Games gold medal was repeated injury and setback in the 2012 London Olympic Games. Shek says, “Principals and friends from SSA would support me whenever I encounter difficulties. I shall always remember their words and encouragement to walk through the dark times.” He continues, “Life is full of ups and downs. Success comes to those who persevere.” Shek Wai-hung proves this with his own story.
Awardees of “A.S. Watson Group Hong Kong Student Sports Award” (SSA) come from different schools and different backgrounds. Lulu Chung, awardee of year 2008-2009, by that time representing her school in division three in inter-school competition though, was determined to fight strongly for every opportunity which eventually brought her a bright future.
“This is a mission that I take pride in”
“This is a mission that I take pride in”Lulu was selected to participate in the Beijing Sports Exchange Tour after receiving her SSA for 2008-2009. She recalls visiting the Beijing National Gymnastics Training Centre and witnessing the training of national athletes, whom painstaking efforts impressed and gave her great motivation. “Seeing them training for one whole day with only few lines of encouraging motto stuck on the four walls surrounding them; while I myself just spend a trivial two hours for training each day. What a great contrast! It is their endeavor and dedication that inspire and remind me to strive for the best in every training.” Lulu’s efforts did ultimately pay off for her first gold medal in Girls Track 100M in inter-school competition.
Entering university, Lulu continued her passion for sports and joined the university rugby team. A current journalism student at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Lulu’s outstanding performance in placement as sports reporter brought her the golden opportunity to take part in reporting two international events within two year time – The National Games of the People’s Republic of China in Shandong and the Incheon Asian Games – a dream job for many sports reporters indeed. Lulu recalls, “The most memorable experience was interviewing Shek Wai-hung, also a past SSA awardee, at the Incheon Asian Games. I can still remember the touching moment when I witnessed he pocketed the first Asian Games gold medal for Hong Kong. SSA is such a great family. When there’re members having competition overseas, I’m also out there for reporting and interviewing; at the same time sharing the joyful moment with other SSA mates in Hong Kong.”Lulu wishes to continue her contribution to local sports with pen – to write and to record the encouraging story of success of Hong Kong athlete. “I may not be a full-time athletic; yet I can be a sports reporter to share the story of local athlete and to spread their spirit and vision with readers. To me, this is a mission that I take pride in,” Lulu says.
Suffering from congenital squint, the disorder of eye muscles has caused Wong Ying-kei the problem of double vision. Yet, this does not hinder her from being an all-round athlete – track and field, swimming, taekwondo, judo, cross-country and windsurfing – she has successfully proved herself having the same capacity as others and took the pride of “A.S. Watson Group Hong Kong Student Sports Award” (SSA) in 2009, “This award gave me self-confidence,” says Ying-kei.
“SSA gave me self-confidence.”
“SSA gave me self-confidence.”Ying-kei is currently having her law studies in the United Kingdom. Looking at the outstanding student achieving good results in both sports and academics today, you could not imagine she was once a girl lacking self-confidence. Ying-kei shares her story, “Because of my eye problems, lacking eye contacts when talking with others may make people misunderstanding that I’m impolite. As time passes, I did not even want to face people.”
For years, Ying-kei has been working hard to prove herself not inferior to anyone else. She has been repeatedly awarded in different sports competitions and even went further to break the inter-school records. Nominated by her secondary school teacher, Ying-kei took the pride of SSA in 2009, with Yip Pui-yin, local badminton representative, also her senior fellow from the same high school; and Chan King-yin, local windsurfer representative as award presenters.It was until 2010 when Ying-kei joined the Exchange Tour as a group leader guiding younger SSA past awardees to the athletes training base in Nanjing and Shanghai that marked the turning point. Playing the leading role in the group, Ying-kei took the initiative to communicate with her fellow members, enhancing herself courage and self-esteem. She recalls, “Towards the end of tour, I received the thank you card from my team members expressing their gratitude for my efforts. What a great encouragement! Since then, I have no fear to come into eye contacts with others anymore.”
Tackling psychological barriers and rebuilding self-confidence, Ying-kei strives for success not only on the sports field but also at school. She is now studying laws overseas and wishing to return Hong Kong upon graduation. Being a qualified barrister to fight for justice in the law court is her ultimate goal.
Eunice Yeung Yun-ting, a 21-year-old medical fourth year student at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, was once one of the 8A scorers at pubic examination of Maryknoll Convert School. She was then admitted to the medical school under the Early Admission Scheme. Underneath the gentle outlook of this talented student capturing excellent result of 8A2B, Eunice is also a sports elite and wins the name of “Maryknoll Queen of Hurdle”. She went further to pocket the “A.S. Watson Group Hong Kong Student Sports Award” (SSA) in 2008. Eunice shares the tips of success to strike a balance between school works and sports activities, “Concentration is the key! My experience gained on sports grounds has taught me to stay concentrated and positive in every situation. With such positive mindset, I can be more relaxed and bring my skills into full play in examination.”
“I learn to stay concentrated and positive in every situation.”
“I learn to stay concentrated and positive in every situation.”Eunice considers SSA a great encouragement and achievement to her. It was the Beijing Sports Exchange Tour that inspired her belief in life. Eunice recalls, “I was given the chance to visit the General Administration of Sport of China in Beijing. Seeing the world top athlete training at a close distance made me understand how hard they have paid for the success. I learnt the importance of concentration from them. And sometimes you have to understand the trade-offs in life. It’s all a matter of choice.” Eunice continues, “Set a clear goal, be focused and go for it! You have to be concentrated in everything you do – be it running or studying.” Eunice also quotes, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” One should be brave and positive enough to embrace challenges come to him or her. In this sense, she is deeply moved by one of her fellow SSA awardees at the same year, Wong Ying-kei. “In spite of her eyes problem, Ying-kei manages to overcome the difficulties posed on her and attains good results in both sports and academics. Her determination and persistence definitely serve as a role model of mine,” says Eunice.
To Kenneth Cheng Kun-yin, what he has obtained from “A.S. Watson Group Hong Kong Student Sports Award” (SSA) is far more than just an award on CV, but the opportunity to widen his social circle by making new friends, which he deemed most valuable. “Participating in the Awards Presentation and Sports Exchange Tour brought me to this big SSA family,” Kenneth says.
“I have got numerous valuable opportunities and experiences.”
“I have got numerous valuable opportunities and experiences.”Kenneth has been a keen sports lover since kids and he has great achievement in football, swimming and tennis. He took the pride of SSA in 2010 and joined the five-day Nanjing Sports Exchange Tour in which he has made many good new friends. Kenneth is particularly thankful to the tour leaders of A.S. Watson Group (ASW) who took good care of participants. “They loved and cared us as sons and daughters, and we enjoyed talking and sharing our feelings with them.” Till now, Kenneth is still an active supporter to SSA activities, no matter social gathering or sharing seminar, he would definitely show up whenever he is in Hong Kong.
Kenneth is currently having his tertiary study in pharmacy in the United Kingdom; and he reckons SSA his great mentor in career. Kenneth recalls, “Back then, I was not quite familiar with the industry when I first arrived Britain which making me felt lost and helpless. Thanked to my SSA networking that provided me the opportunity for a placement in Watsons during my return to Hong Kong for summer holiday in my first university year. The experience to learning from registered pharmacist at work gave me clear direction in career.”Graduating soon with good academic results, Kenneth has already found his way out after graduation – He will be working as a pharmacist trainee in Superdrug, subsidiary of ASW in the United Kingdom. “ASW has given me numerous valuable opportunities and experiences; and I’m more than happy to join this big family after graduation. I wish to continue my support to SSA in another way – to encourage young athletes with my experience,” says Kenneth.
Cherie Yeung Siu-fong lost both arms to an accident when she was just nine, but not her positive and optimistic mind. Her disability does not stop her passion for sports and painting. Embracing challenges and overcoming hardships in life with courage and enthusiasm, Cherie turns adversity into blessings and lives her life to the fullest.
“One life inspires another. I want to be an art therapist to pass on the spirit of SSA to the ones in need.”
“One life inspires another. I want to be an art therapist to pass on the spirit of SSA to the ones in need.”It is sports that broaden Cherie’s horizon. Being one of the representatives of Hong Kong team in the Guangzhou Asian Para Games in 2010, Cherie took the pride of “A.S. Watson Group Hong Kong Student Sports Award” (SSA) in 2012 and was selected to join the Sports Exchange Tour thereafter. “During my life in high school, I didn’t have much occasion to connect to the outside world until my participation in the Nanjing Sports Exchange Tour, providing me the opportunity to explore the training centre of national athletes and more importantly, to get to know friends from schools of different districts in Hong Kong,” says Cherie.
It is sports that bring Cherie determination and courage. Being armless, legs and waists are the only drive of power for Cherie to swim. Trainings like turn and touching the timing pad – simple acts to many swimmers maybe – Cherie has to pay extra effort to accomplish them. Yet, she definitely does not give up and instead, she is even more determined to strive for progress and success. She recalls the visit to the aquatic training base during the Nanjing Sports Exchange Tour in which she is deeply impressed by the backflow training pool there, “Such backflow training pool can control the speed of water flow that can enhance the skills and raise the condition of athlete effectively.”It is also sports that give Cherie a different view of life, so as people around her. Cherie’s sister who is one year younger than Cherie started to learn swimming all because she is moved by the persistence and dedication of her elder sister, and has now become a good swimmer. Aside from sports, Cherie is also fond of arts and often paints with her feet. She wishes to be an art therapist in the future, “One life inspires another”, she believes.