Arabella Ng said she hoped more athletes from the city can aspire to take part in the Winter Games after becoming the first Hong Kong skier to compete in an Olympic snow event at Pyeongchang this week.
The 16-year-old also skilfully deflected comments by some who feel she is not truly representing Hong Kong because of her upbringing in Canada.
Arabella finished 56th in the giant slalom, but failed to finish in her favoured slalom. She completed most of the course but fell during the lower, flatter section.
“It was a super cool and an amazing experience,” said Ng, who with her family has arrived back in Whistler, Canada. “My skiing could have been better but it was pretty cool considering how hard the conditions were.
“It was definitely an honour to represent Hong Kong at the Olympics. I hope in future Olympics, more athletes from Hong Kong will be able to take part in snow events.”
When asked how she felt about comments regarding her affinity with Hong Kong, Ng’s response suggested it had never crossed her mind.
“Honestly, I don’t know,” she said.
A student at the prestigious Green Mountain Valley School ski academy in Vermont, United States, she is the niece of former Hong Kong summer Olympians Fenella Ng, who represented the city at swimming and rowing, and rower Michael Tse – Fenella’s husband.
Ng said it was an incredible experience standing at the gate awaiting her turn but once she started her descent her mind was focused on her performance.
“I try to think of technical things but when I was at the start, I did think ‘Oh, my God, it’s the Olympics’. But usually when I am skiing my mind goes blank and I can concentrate on the skiing.”
Her father, Tim Ng, said the wind, which at times gusted up to 100km/h and caused delays to the races, made it difficult for all skiers.
“There were a few delays to the schedule but it wasn’t too much of a problem for Arabella,” he said. “In ski racing you get used to delays, postponements and cancellations, it’s part of the sport.
Arabella Ng finishes 56th in her Winter Olympics debut, but makes history for Hong Kong in Pyeongchang
“It was a very proud moment for the family to get over there and support her and watch her ski. We were not really expecting much out of it other than an exercise in gaining experience, both in terms of overall atmosphere and being against the best racers in the world.
“The Olympics was set up to test the best skiers and is several steps up from what she was racing on and she’s only been racing at a senior level for a couple of months so it was a very steep learning curve for her.”
Tim Ng said Arabella’s aim was to continue skiing competitively, while also focusing on her studies.
“In the short term, it will be a mix of studying and skiing. We are in the perfect place because [Green Mountain] is a very strong school for skiing and strong in academics.
“Where does she go from here? We’ll look at colleges in the US and see how her ski career goes. It only takes one injury to end your career, so we’ll just play each year as it comes and go from there.”