Women’s rugby star Lee Tsz-ting gets first taste of HK Sevens and is eyeing Rio Olympics

Women’s rugby star Lee Tsz-ting gets first taste of HK Sevens and is eyeing Rio Olympics

Despite the injury risks, the teen star loves playing rugby because it is full of challenges

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Lee Tsz-ting (ball in hand) of Team Hong Kong in action at Hong Kong Women's Rugby Sevens matches between Hong Kong vs. Sri Lanka at the King's Park Sport's Ground in Ho Man Tin.
Photo: Edward Wong/SCMP

Lee Tsz-ting was part of the Hong Kong women’s team that lost 5-0 to France in the semi-finals of the Hong Kong Sevens at Hong Kong Football Club (HKFC) last Friday. It was the first time Lee had taken part in the event.

The 19-year-old wasn’t disappointed with the result, saying she had gained valuable experience during the competition.

She says her toughest lesson came in the preliminary round against Argentina, who beat Hong Kong 12-5. “We usually played against Asian teams so we were not familiar with the style of teams outside Asia,” she says. “Argentina were a formidable team with their powerful movement and speed. Most of our attacks were also not successful due to their solid defence.

“It was a tough lesson as we didn’t prepare well, so we couldn’t do anything to respond to their attacks. We need to have a better understanding of our competitors, such as their strengths and weaknesses.”

She added they would now review their tactics, especially defence. “Rugby is more than carrying the ball to the opponents’ goal-line. It involves teamwork, strategies, speed and personal techniques,” she says. “We need to tighten our defence and strengthen our attack. For example, we need to rush our opponents once they have the ball to prevent them from passing or kicking it.”


Rugby star Shona Mihan bounces back from broken bones to lead her team


Lee, a student at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, is aware of the dangers associated with a full-contact sport like rugby. She trains to protect herself on the field. “Not only is strength training essential to fitness, it also helps make our body stronger and reduce the chances of a serious injury,” she says. “We train not to hit an opponent’s stomach area with our shoulders as this will risk us receiving a yellow or red card. Low tackles are also not recommended because your face could come into contact with the other player’s knee.”

Despite the injury risks, Lee says she loves playing rugby because it is full of challenges. “I like this sport as it is not all about hitting other people or scoring. It requires us to make full use of our physical strength, speed and cooperation,” she says.

Lee is preparing for the Asian Rugby Championship to be held on May 7 at HKFC. She is now focusing on more weight-lifting and conditioning workouts which would help boost her strength and endurance.

She’s also set her sights on the biggest tournament of them all: the Rio Olympics in August.


Lee is looking forward to the Rio Olympics in August.
Photo: Edward Wong/SCMP

Bench notes:
Who is your favourite athlete?
England’s sevens rugby star Daniel Bibby, who is a playmaker with a good vision. He is an all-round athlete, and excels in almost every aspect of the game, like kicking and passing, and also runs very fast. I follow his example by not focusing on one particular skill – I want to be an all-round player like him.

What song title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Hakuna Matata from Disney’s The Lion King. It’s a Swahili phrase which means “no worries”. It reminds me not to worry too much during a match. It is important to stay focused and relaxed, and enjoy every game.

If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you choose and how would you use it?
The Time Machine in the Japanese manga series, Doraemon. I wish I could zoom off to Iceland and enjoy its natural scenery like hot springs, volcanoes, valleys, rivers and beaches with black sand.

What food would you never give up?
Sour Skittles.

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
Lee sizes up her rivals

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