athlete of the week
Name Dara Sum Dick-wah
School Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Grade Year Two
Sum, 22, is a black belt (second dan) athlete. She represented Hong Kong at the 20th Asian Taekwondo Championships in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, earlier this month. There, she entered the quarter-finals of the female seniors (under 49kg category), losing to Thailand's Chanatip Sonkham.
Sum has also represented PolyU in the inter-university competition, winning three successive gold medals in the women's black belt flyweight category from 2010 to 2012. She also competed in the women's under 46kg category at the 2011 Universiade in Shenzhen.
'I have been training for six to seven years, since I studied at C&MA Sun Kei Secondary School in Tseung Kwan O,' Sum says. 'I joined the Hong Kong team in Form Five. I like the sound made when I kick the sandbag and I always become more energetic when I kick it with a team of taekwondo athletes. It's such an exciting feeling.'
'Winning three consecutive titles in the inter-university competition is recognition of my efforts. It's also great that both our men's and women's teams won the overall team titles at the event. Our PolyU team trains very hard and they start preparing in September every year even though the competition is held in March. They are all passionate, and I like training with them.
'At the championships a few weeks ago, I could see the standard of many other Asian teams had risen. This is because many athletes have taken up the sport full-time. As a part-time athlete, I realised the importance of training even harder to compete against them.
'I got a chance to see famous Taiwanese athlete Yang Shu-chun's match at the tournament. I trained with her in Taiwan two years ago. We were in the same category this time and my Thai rival, who beat me in the quarter-finals, faced Yang in the semi-finals. Yang went on to win the gold medal, and I believe she will win gold at the London Olympics.'
From her coach
'Dara is always willing to assist less-experienced athletes. In training, she is polite and discusses her plans to hone her skills with me,' says So Shing-lai, coach of PolyU's taekwondo team.
My long-term goal is to represent Hong Kong at the 2016 Olympic Games [in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil],' says Sum.