Phoebe Chung Wai-yan is enthusiastic about every event in the heptathlon, so we asked her what it takes to excel in the discipline.
“Try to maintain an average score in each event,” says the 17-year-old student from St Clare’s Girls’ School. “Don’t focus on one particular event as it won’t be enough to cover all other events.”
Women’s heptathlon is made up of seven events – 100 metres hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200m, long jump, javelin throw and 800m.
Phoebe won the heptathlon at the Hong Kong Inter-City Athletics Competition 2014 and came third at both the Hong Kong Athletics Championships 2015 and Hong Kong Athletics Series 2015 – Series 1.
The teenager is one of the city’s leading young athletes, despite only taking up the sport when she was 15. “The Grade B discus throw was the first event I tried at the Division One Inter-School Athletics Competition 2012-13 (Kowloon and Hong Kong Island). After winning silver there, I realised I could do well in athletics and decided to dedicate my life to it. It wasn’t too late,” she says.
Phoebe then began intensive training, and now trains four days a week, for three to four hours a day.
“It’s really hard to handle seven events because they need different skills,” she says. “For example, the discus focuses on your throwing technique and strength, while the 100m hurdles is all about speed and arm-leg co-ordination. The most important task is to improve my technique in each event, and overcome my weaknesses.
“I believe it’s important to try. If you don’t try, you never know what you could achieve.”
Who is your favourite athlete?
British heptathlon star Jessica Ennis-Hill, who is the reigning Olympic and world champion. She is brilliant in every event and I could learn a lot from her.
What song title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
Avril Lavigne’s Keep Holding On. The song’s lyrics, “We’ll make it through, Just stay strong”, have inspired me whenever I struggled during a competition.
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?
I would promote Reebok. I’m impressed by the variety and quality of its sportswear.
What food would you never give up?