Six hardworking Hong Kong teenagers will soon head to Manchester, England, where they’ll take part in community programmes and visit the famous Manchester United training grounds. The six winners will be chosen from a group of 44 young sports stars from across the territory.
The Jockey Club Youth Football Leadership Scheme 2017 organised star-studded leadership workshops for the teens at the Hong Kong Sports Institute last Saturday. This year’s mentors included unbeaten boxer Rex Tso Sing-yu, Eastern Sports Club coach Chan Yuen-ting, seven-time Paralympic fencing gold medallist Alison Yu Chui-yee, and head coach of Manchester United Soccer Schools Hong Kong, Christopher O’Brien.
Pearls of wisdom from the pros
The trainees listened intently as each mentor shared their words of wisdom. “There is a lot of pressure to perform in sports but it can be channelled into positive energy to do even better,” explained Tso, who was still a bit bruised from his bout last month.
The Wonder Kid added: “Look at everything as an experience – the harder it is, the more rewarding it feels.”
Chan, the first-ever female to coach a men’s football team in a nation’s highest league, cited communication and teamwork as keys to successful leadership. “Teams can be made up of people from different cultures speaking different languages,” she said, “but remember that you’re all heading in the same direction, working for the same thing.”
The spirit of inclusion in sport
There was also time for some fun and games, as Yu taught Tso and Chan a few things about wheelchair fencing.
The newbies sat in wheelchairs and happily took part in activities such as testing reaction times and learning basic fencing grips. It was a wonderful moment that highlighted the all-inclusive nature of sport.
Young Post spoke to Yu, who brought smiles to the audience through her inspiring yet light-hearted speech.
“I want to use sport to send a more positive message to youngsters,” she said. “Not many people are aware of disabled sports, so I wanted to promote inclusion and equality.”
For young people aspiring to become Hong Kong’s next sports star, Yu’s advise was: “You need to have a dream. It can be big or small at first, but set a target. You might face failure, and you can cry, but after the emotions, you need to think about improvements.”
She added that it’s one thing to dream about success, but the key to achieving it is to go after those dreams. “Don’t just sit there and say ‘I want to do this, I want to do that’ – take a step forward,” said Yu.
A challenging road to the top
The 44 talented youngsters will continue to show their leadership skills in the coming months as they battle it out for the six coveted spots.
O’Brien, who represents Manchester United, will base his selections on leadership qualities such as motivation, work ethic, social interaction, and “the ability to think outside the box”.
He believes that this collaboration with Manchester United will help build a bright future for Hong Kong sport.
“Manchester will be an experience for football, leadership, and community work,” he said.
“To take that back into the Hong Kong districts is massive, and will add value to the local communities.”