Judgment day for ping pong parents

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 April, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 April, 2007, 12:00am

Wally Yeung Chun-kuen's working hours may be occupied these days listening to accusations flying back and forth across a room at the Institute of Education inquiry.

But in his spare time he's likely to be intently watching a small white ball flying back and forth across a net, usually struck by his 15-year-old son.

Mr Justice Yeung and his wife, Rechelle, are always on hand to cheer on Yeung Jun-wei in his table tennis matches, encouraging him every way they can in his sporting life.

So much so that they have just been judged the most supportive family at the Hang Seng Table Tennis Academy.

'They watch every match I play, take videos and cheer for me,' said Jun-wei, who has been playing for more than five years. 'My mother also drives me from Central to Chai Wan for every practice.'

Mr Justice Yeung said the inquiry into alleged interference in academic freedom at the institute was not interfering with his family life.

'The hearing is from 9am to 2pm on weekdays, and I read documents in the afternoon, so I still have time with my family at night,' he said.

While preparing for the GCSE examination, Jun-wei still practises two hours a day, six days a week.

'Study is always my first priority, but I also want to keep playing table tennis,' said the teenager, who wants to study law at Oxford or Cambridge and follow in his father's footsteps to become a judge.

'I also want to become a full-time athlete, but that will depend on how well I play in the next couple of years.'

Mr Justice Yeung is not worried that sport will affect his son's grades. 'Playing table tennis is good for his studies. He is trained to be more responsive.'

Supportive though he may be, that doesn't extend to playing against his son.

'He is no match for me, so I seldom play with him,' Jun-wei smiled.