Thirteen-year-old archery star Rachael Sung uses the sport to help her focus.
Although the South Island School (SIS) student picked up a bow and arrow for the first time just two years ago, she is already one of the best in Hong Kong for her age group. In fact, she won a gold medal in the D Grade Girls’ Recurve Division at the Hong Kong Youth Outdoor Archery Open 2016 last October.
“Archery not only builds up my confidence, but helps me focus my mind,” said Rachael, who eats sushi rolls before every big competition. “I feel very fortunate to get to play this sport.”
There are, however, many challenges to being a young archer in the city.
“Hong Kong has very few outdoor archery ranges, and the locations are usually inconvenient,” she explained. “There isn’t much of a scene here, so it’s hard to find other people to practise with.”
Rachael said she “becomes a leopard” when she steps onto the archery field. “The leopard is a very swift and effective hunter. Once a leopard sees its prey, it will focus and catch it quickly. It’s similar to archery – you need to focus, look at the target, and then shoot.”
She said her role model and a big reason for her success is her coach Calvin Lee, who represented Hong Kong at the 2012 Summer London Olympics.
“Coach Lee is so hardworking and calm, you can see why he was able to become one of the most well-known archers in Hong Kong.”
Rachael is always ready to take on a new challenge. She recently took part in the C Grade Girls’ Compound Division at the Hong Kong Youth Indoor Archery Open. Although she only won a bronze medal, she held her head high and focused on the positives.
“I was so happy and surprised that I beat my personal best score and shot five 10s,” she explained. “[The champion] was amazing and shot six 10s, so it was hard to beat her.
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“I worked really hard for this competition – I had extensive training with my coach and extra practise throughout the summer, so I feel like it was worth it.”
While she hopes to win a gold medal in the compound category the next time, Rachael has set some ambitious long-term goals in the sport. “I would like to compete in South Korea because they have the best archers in the world. I want to gain experience from watching and competing against them.”
Ultimately, however, she wants to help the sport of archery grow in Hong Kong.
“One day I want to start my own company to help young archers in the city,” she said. “I want to design a mascot and souvenirs to promote Hong Kong archery.”