Some people work their entire lives to make it into sport’s history books, but one young Hong Kong windsurfer has done just that at the age of 13. On the waters of Lake Garda in Italy, Mak Cheuk-wing joined the ranks of the city’s top competitors, winning a title in an international youth-class race on Saturday.
She beat favourites Mathilde Garandeau from France and Linoy Geva from Israel to take first place in the Techno 293 junior girls’ U-15 class. Garandeau and Geva came second and third respectively. It was Hong Kong’s first world title in the Techno class. Seen as a path to the 2018 Youth Olympic Games, the Techno 293 class is an international windsurfing race for competitors under the age of 17.
A delighted Cheuk-wing, who began windsurfing at the age of nine, said she owed her success to Cheng Hing-lun, who coaches her in Hong Kong, and Cheung Kwok-fai, who led the HK team to Italy.
“Cheng Hing-lun always pushes me to train harder and Cheng Kwok-fai here in Garda helped me fine-tune my skills and tactics before the races,” said Cheuk-wing, who also thanked her parents “for supporting me and allowing me to do a sport that I love”.
“I am really happy to win this title this time after I missed out at the European event in July.”
She finished second in the Techno 293 European Championships in Poland.
“She is a very talented athlete,” Cheng said. “She is able to pick up new skills very quickly.”
In a post on his Facebook page, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying congratulated Cheuk-wing, calling her Hong Kong’s “new star”. Hong Kong sent a total of six surfers to compete in three categories. Leung Pui-hei, 16, finished 11th in the U-17 boys division. He said his performances had been affected by the windier conditions on the lake.“We had medium to strong winds during racing and that was a bit difficult for me,” he said. Pui-hei vowed to work harder and has his sights set on a medal at the Youth Olympics.