Cherry Fung Pui-wing said she was a clueless rookie on her school’s archery team four years ago. It didn’t matter much to her if she missed the bull’s-eye a few times, because she knew there was always someone more experienced to cover for her.
It is all different, however, now that Cherry is the team captain. There is no one else to turn to but herself, and she’s determined to set an example for her teammates to make every arrow count.
The 17-year-old was crowned champion in the Girls’ Grade A event at the BOCHK Archery Cup on May 16. It was a close victory for Cherry, as she scored a total of 530 points – a mere three points more than the silver medallist Clara Chu Ho-lam of Hong Kong True Light College.
The Good Hope School student had hoped to lead her school to a breakthrough by taking third place in the overall Girls’ ranking, but unfortunately the younger archers on her team did not perform as well in Grade C, so the school only managed to retain their fourth-place finish.
Cherry told Young Post that she had not expected to win, given she only finished in ninth place in Grade B last year. She thinks her unexpected victory has something to do with her change in attitude that resulted from her taking up the role of captain.
The Form Four student explains that, while every team can send up to five representatives in each grade, only the results of the top three archers count towards the overall ranking. Before becoming captain, she would let herself off the hook when she underperformed, thinking that the team could use someone else’s result.
But she soon realised this mentality would cost her team a title. “The competition result often comes down to two to three points only. As the team captain, I try to remind my team that everyone’s effort matters,” she said. When Cherry first joined the school team in Form One, her reason was simple – with the bow, the arrows, the chest guard, the quiver and other gear involved, archery seemed cool.
And along with the sense of accomplishment you get from hitting the bull’s-eye, it’s understandable why she became attached to the sport. Four years into archery, Cherry is still finding new reasons to love the sport. “Archery is great way to de-stress. Even though I’m very tired after my training, I feel like some weight has been taken off my shoulders. My training time provides a great escape from my hectic school life,” she said.
She added that when she pulls and releases the arrow, it’s as if she is letting of all of her stress go. Shooting accurately is generally regarded as the most difficult part of archery, but you shouldn’t underestimate the physical strength needed in the sport, even if it doesn’t require vigorous movements. When Cherry shoots an arrow, she said the draw weight – the amount of force needed to pull the bow – is around 15kg.
After the interschool cup, Cherry was able to unwind a little and spend more time tackling her end of year examinations. After her school finals though, she will need to go full steam ahead with her training to fulfil her goal of making the Hong Kong representative list before she graduates from secondary school. She must improve her performance in selection trials to be promoted to the city’s first youth team.
The Good Hope captain also hopes her team can win more individual awards next year, which will help the school secure a higher overall ranking and break the chain of being off the podium.
“We’ve been in fourth place for three years now. The sport may seem individual, but if all the Good Hope archers can push a little harder [as a team], maybe we can make a breakthrough next year,” she said.