Cheering team members show they are in tune with spirit of sports meet
They were different. They did not carry pompoms and shout slogans. Instead the victorious cheering team from Shatin Public School, holding silver sticks in their hands, danced to the melody of a song by Canto-pop star Kelly Chen Wai-lam.
They were taking part in a sports contest organised for mentally retarded youth, sponsored by McDonald's Restaurants (HK). The contest aimed to raise funds for the Hong Kong Sports Association for the Mentally Handicapped (HKSAM) and arouse public concern towards people with disabilities.
HKSAM was established in 1978 as a non-profit organisation. In addition to organising different types of sports and recreational activities, HKSAM also offers professional training in order to raise the standards of its athletes.
This year about 20 athletes from four special schools - Shatin Public School, CCC Kei Shun Special School, SSNA Lau Pun Cheung School and TWGHS Tsui Tsin Tong School - participated in the competition.
They mingled with HKSAM sports stars - swimmer Po Tik-san and ice dancer Liu Yuk-yi - as well as pop singers such as Ekin Cheng and Lillian Ho Ka-lai.
The athletes, divided into four groups, competed in three activities - three-legged race, hula-hoop and ball-passing.
The competition was not intended to test the participants' physical strength or skills. Rather, it was a friendly contest that required team-work. Partnering Lillian Ho in the three-legged race, 25-year-old William Chan Kit-wai said: 'Co-operation is the key to performing well in this activity.'
Like the sports events, the cheering competition also aimed to let the participants have fun in the process.
'You see how happy they are. Through music and dance, they are easily involved in the activity,' said choreographer Cheng Wai-lam, a teacher at Shatin Public School.
Christy is a summer intern from the University of Hong Kong