Sam Tsoi Kin-san set several records at the Hong Kong Junior Age Group Athletics Championships in November last year, including boys’ Grade A2 discus throw (49.98 metres) and shot put (14.96m). He also won gold in Grade A boys’ discus (1.5kg) at the Inter-school Athletics Competition in February with a new record of 49.69m.
In discus, Sam said it mostly depends on how fast you spin around. “The bigger the range of motion, the further the discus goes. I whip my arm as quickly as I can, as it leads to greater momentum and causes the discus to go further,” he said.
This “whipping” technique could also be used in shot put despite only rotating 180 degrees before releasing
the weight, unlike the discus where you spin around 360 degrees. “Both sports showcase your physical strength and power, which require every single part of the major muscle groups, especially core muscles. Your back muscles and abdomen are the main source of power. Like an engine, this core muscle group generates enormous power, helping you to throw the discus and put shot a long way,” Sam said.
But mastering basic skills is more important than focusing on one muscle group. “Some throwers tend to use only arms or back muscles, but over-reliance on just one body part will increase the risk of muscle strain and injury. So it is essential to start from the basics, like building up footwork and balance,” Sam said.
His favourite athlete is Estonian discus thrower Gerd Kanter who won gold with a throw of 68.82m at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. “Kanter has remarkable speed and strong rotation. He also spends a great deal of time practising every single step, such as spinning and releasing,” Sam said. “He has shown that you have to have every aspect of the sport in good working order if you want to do well in discus or shot put.”
Sam’s throwing techniques are also very useful in indoor rowing, which requires huge power from your back and leg muscles. You can build up your back and leg muscles by doing squats and deadlifts, he said. He set a new record in the A-grade boys’ 500m with a time of 1:27.1 at the Inter-school Rowing Competition early this month.
Sam has set his sights on a top-three finish in the discus and shot put at the All China Junior Athletics Championships, to be held in Jinan, Shandong province. “I hope I can get more experience by taking part in such events,” he said. “When competing with top-class athletes, I can identify my own strengths or weaknesses. I treat it as a valuable learning experience; winning an event would be a bonus.”
If you could have any superpower for 24 hours, what would you choose and how would you use it?
Teleportation, so I could travel around the world and explore different cultures. I could do this within a short period of time so that it won’t affect my training.
What food would you never give up??
Rice, which is one of my main sources of energy. Without it, I don’t think I would be able to throw the discus very far.
What song title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Bliss n Eso’s I am Somebody. The lyrics, “Keep on runnin’, Keep on gunnin’, With this fire in my eyes”, remind me to stay energetic during competitions.
Ten years into the future, you are a famous athlete. What company would you sign on as spokesperson for, and what product would you promote?
Adidas sportswear and shoes, which are so comfortable and long-lasting. The designs enable us to perform better while reducing the risk of injury.