Windsurfer Sonia Lo Sin-lam, 23, will represent Hong Kong at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this summer.
She is now hoping to emulate fellow windsurfer Lee Lai-shan, known as San San, who won Hong Kong’s first and only gold medal at the 1996 Atlanta Games.
Lo was only three when San San won, and does not remember the excitement that surrounded Hong Kong’s first-ever Olympic medal. But she is hoping to follow in her idol’s footsteps. “San San is absolutely my idol,” said Lo. “Actually not only mine, but also the idol of many Hongkongers. She is still the sole Olympic gold medallist for the city.”
Lo, who won a silver medal in a different class at the Incheon Asian Games in 2014, was wary of making predictions for the Olympics, even though she is determined to be as good as Lee.
“I remember I watched a live telecast of her races and she was in a lot of pain. After the race, she looked terrible and went on a speed
boat. She was sent to hospital. I saw the [whole thing] progress. [How did she fight through] that pain? I think she was superb and I want to be another San San,” she said.
“Attending the Olympics is a form of recognition [of my achievements]. Because Lee Lai-shan won a medal, [does that mean I could, too?] But it will take time. An athlete can’t ‘reach the sky in a single bound’. This is my first Olympics, I want to [remain calm] and see how well I can do.”
Lo said windsurfing has a role in “almost every part of my life”. After completing Form Three, she decided to study at a night school so that she could train during the day.
A film buff, Lo says she likes to watch movies during training and competition to help fight off the nerves .
“The night before a race, watching a film can be a good option to avoid thinking about anything else,” said Lo.