Netball: A worthwhile challenge

Netball: A worthwhile challenge

Discovery College's netball star, Grace Kai Fong, makes time away from family and training up to 10 times a week worth it

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Grace Kai Fong (centre, mid-jump) continually sets new goals.
Photo: Winnie Hui

Passion and dedication are the hallmark of a true athlete. But netball star Grace Kai Fong knows that sometimes those qualities can also cause imbalances in an athlete's life - especially a student athlete.

"One of the biggest challenges I've faced with playing my sport is finding time for friends and family," says 16-year-old Grace of Discovery College.

"Training eight to 10 times a week takes up a lot of time and I often find it difficult making time for people outside of netball."

But that training and effort has paid off for Grace, who first started playing netball in Year 4 while at school in New Zealand.

"In New Zealand, I started playing through school, and when I moved to Hong Kong I began trialing for the regional and national teams," she explains.

Grace now plays for the Hong Kong U21 netball team, and represented Hong Kong at the 2015 Regional 16's Netball Academy Tour to Singapore in November. Earlier in the year, she was also on the team representing Hong Kong at the Tri-Nations Tournament against China, Taipei and Thailand.

"My greatest achievement is placing third at the 2015 Tri-Nations tournament with the Hong Kong Youth Team," she says. "Even though we were an invitational team, the opportunity to play at an international level and achieve third out of four countries was a great experience."

Grace is hoping to top that experience at the upcoming 9th Asian Youth Netball Championships here in Hong Kong, which will be held from December 14 to 20. She has been selected as a member of the 12-person team, cut down from the original 30 selected at the first trials in May.

She was also selected as part of the squad for a training tour in New Zealand last month. Now she and her teammates battle it out in the Championships, where 12 teams from across the region will compete.

That pressure is what keeps Grace going. "My favourite thing about netball is the speed and atmosphere of the game," she says.

And while her training schedule and rigorous competitions may not leave a lot of time for much else, Grace says she has found her place on the court. "Teamwork plays a significant part in netball," she says, "and through that I've formed really strong friendships with different people."


The speed and atmosphere is Grace's (left) favourite part of the game.
Photo: Winnie Hui

Bench Notes

What song/movie title best describes you when you're playing your sport?
Lose Yourself by Eminem. My favourite line is: "You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime". It always gets me motivated before playing a match.

You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
I think I'd want to have speed as a superpower so I could finish all my work and have time to relax. It'd also be really helpful in netball if I moved to centre court!

If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Time, because there's so much I want to do in life and there are never enough hours in the day to do it.

10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign-on as spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
If I had to sign with a company, it'd probably be Nike or Asics. I love Asics netball shoes as they provide heaps of support, and Nike sportswear is my go-to training gear.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
A worthwhile challenge

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