The Sports For Hope Foundation (SFHF) honoured its latest batch of talented athletes this month, at the Outstanding Junior Athlete Awards (OJAA) presentation ceremony, which was held at the Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI). Ten more junior athletes received the award for their outstanding performance in sports, while another 15 were awarded the Certificate of Merit for the third quarter of 2016.
Those awarded included Cheung Ka-wai and Tam Yun-fung for billiards, Ma Pak-hong and Lee Chak-him for roller sports, Lui Hiu-lam and Chan Sin-yuk for squash, Soo Wai-yam and Mak Tze-wing for table tennis, and Leung Pui-hei and Mak Cheuk-wing for windsurfing.
Soo Wai-yam, 18, was given her eighth OJAA title after claiming the girls’ doubles champion at the 22nd Asian Junior & Cadet Table Tennis Championships.
“My sincere thanks go to the SFHF for supporting the young athletes, for recognising our abilities and for encouraging us to excel in every single competition,” she said at the ceremony. She revealed that her next goals were to become one of the world’s top 30 ranked players, and to win medals in the upcoming Asian and World Championships. Her ultimate goal is medalling in the women’s team event at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
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Wai-yam’s partner, Mak Tze-wing was awarded the OJAA title for the fourth time. She said she was proud of their journey to the girls’ doubles title at the Asian Junior & Cadet Championships. She said, “We all felt sad about missing out on a medal in the team event. I am glad that we were able to pull ourselves together and that we managed to regain our fighting spirit to make history.” She named her teammates Doo Hoi-kem and Lee Ho-ching as her role models, and went on to say that she hopes to one day be able to represent Hong Kong on the international stage.
Windsurfers and first-time OJAA recipients Leung Pui-hei, 16, and Mak Cheuk-wing, 13, shone at the Techno 293 Plus European Championships 2016, where Pui-hei became the U19 boys’ champion and Cheuk-wing was the U15 girls’ champion.
Young snooker player Cheung Ka-wai was named an Outstanding Junior Athlete for the second time after coming third in the U21 Individual event at the 2016 IBSF World U18 & U21 Snooker Championships in August. He is looking forward to becoming the U21 world champion in the near future and wants to become a full-time athlete once he graduates from secondary school.
Ka-wai’s teammate, Tam Yun-fung received his second OJAA after winning the silver medal for Hong Kong in the U18 individual event at the snooker championships. He said he would need to practise more and improve on his performance in order to be ready for the upcoming U18 World Championship.
Since 2012, the OJAA has been organised by the HKSI and has been sponsored by the SFHF, with support from the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China and the Hong Kong Sports Press Association. The awards are designed to boost and nurture the city’s top young athletes, so that they can go on to pursue a full-time sports career. Each quarter, the OJAA recognises the achievements of outstanding local junior athletes under the age of 19. Each awardee receives a cash prize of HK$2,500, a sports voucher worth HK$2,500 and a certificate.