Eleven junior athletes nominated for OJA award

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 January, 2003, 12:00am

Wheelchair fencer Yu Chui-yee, 18, is almost certain to be awarded her fifth Outstanding Junior Athlete (OJA) Award for her brilliant performance at last year's Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled (Fespic Games) in South Korea.

Yu, who became the first female athlete to win the Hong Kong Sports Development Board's award four times last quarter, won four golds in the women's epee, epee team, foil and team foil at the games.

'It was an outstanding effort from Hong Kong. The standard of competition had increased and the local athletes did well to win so many medals,' Alison Wong, executive director of the Hong Kong Sports Association for the Physically Disabled told the SCMP at the time.

A total of 42 countries took part in the Fespic Games. The 115-strong SAR athletic contingent won a total of 58 medals (27 golds, 15 silvers and 16 bronze) in the physically disabled category, while the remaining 34 medals (14 golds, 10 silvers and 10 bronzes) were won by the mentally handicapped athletes.

Windsurfer Chan Wai-man is all set for her second OJA award. The 18-year-old, tipped as the next Lee Lai-shan, won gold medals in the Mistral under-20 category and Ladies Open category at the Singapore Open Windsurfing Championships in December.

Earlier last year, Chan had finished third out of 12 in the mistral under-20 event at the Volvo Sailing ISAF World Championships in Canada.

Eleven juniors have been nominated by their Associations for the award.

Four have won it previously: Yu and Chan, tennis player Yu Hiu-tung and mentally handicapped table tennis player Lai Wai-ling. Some newcomers include squash sensations Au Chun-ming, 12, and Chan Ho-ling, 14.

'Both these players have shown immense talent in the national junior squad after being identified through the Searching for New Sports Stars Programme last year,' said Chung Pak-kwong, director of Elite Training and Sports Development at the Hong Kong Sports Development Board.

Cricketer James Atkinson, 12, is also a contender after being selected as one of the tournament's outstanding 15 players at the under-15 Asia Cup in the emirate of Dubai last December.