Hong Kong Faces
Chui Ka-nok's experience as a member of the Hong Kong basketball and volleyball teams paved the way for a successful career as a sports host and commentator for more than two decades. Of all the Olympics he has covered, Chui rates this year's Beijing Games the most impressive.
A determination to excel in everything he does has helped former Hong Kong basketball and volleyball team member Chui Ka-nok become an acclaimed sports host and commentator for more than two decades.
Chui was invited to be a sports commentator for the ATV Home channel for the Beijing Olympic Games. His performance and rich knowledge of various sports was well-received by the audience. Some even described him as a 'sports dictionary'.
Chui, who has been a sports commentator at every Olympics since 1984 - seven in total - said this year's Games were the most impressive.
'I did intensive preparation over the past four years,' he recalls. 'From 2004 to 2008, I was a commentator at various sports tournaments for many TV channels. It was exhausting.'
He learned and memorised the rules, techniques and names of athletes in sports like gymnastics, swimming, tennis, table tennis, volleyball and basketball.
'Many said I had done a great job in 2004. But I could not do the same thing this year because the audience was largely different. At the Athens Olympics, some of the events were held late at night due to time zone differences, so many fans were sports fanatics. But at the Beijing Olympics, more people watched the Games, including those who seldom watch sports matches. So as a commentator, I not only have to act professionally, but also make it entertaining. It is much more challenging. I have to get to know more about each athlete's background - such as information about his family and his coach - to enrich my presentation and make it more amusing.' Chui says he read the audience's comments on ATV's website every day. 'It was great to see their praise. But if someone pointed out any mistake I made in the show, I could avoid repeating the same fault,' he says.
Chui also took every chance to learn from sports heavyweights. 'When I host a programme with veteran coaches, I take the chance to ask them something I don't know or something the audience may be interested in. I can learn from them.'
Chui says he sometimes chats with gold medallists of different sports to learn their techniques and skills.
When providing a commentary on a competition, 'I don't want to simply say, 'It's beautiful', but also explain the reason why. If someone doesn't do well in a match, I don't want to merely say how poor it is, but point out some possible reasons for the poor performance. These athletes have trained for years, I want the audience to know more about their efforts.'
Chui has had a long career in sport. He was a member of Hong Kong's volleyball team from 1975 to 1983 and of the basketball team from 1979 to 1987. He also represented the city in volleyball in the 1978 Asian Games in Bangkok and at the basketball events in 1986 in Seoul. From 1982 to 1989, he was a guest TV sports commentator. In 1989, when he was teaching at the Yaumati Catholic Primary School, an ATV producer persuaded him to become a full-time sports host and commentator.
At that time he had already been a mathematics and physical education teacher at the school for six years and was very likely to be promoted to the head teacher for extra-curricular activities. 'The producer told me: 'Many teachers can become a head teacher, but only a few people can be outstanding sports commentators'. What he said has been proven right 19 years later.'
Over the years he has learned that what mattered most was the audience. 'I had a very good response this year. Their approval gave me great satisfaction.'
Chui, who now works for Now TV, says he never regretted becoming a sports host and commentator and finds the job rewarding and challenging. 'No matter how dull a match seems to be, I can't consider it boring. Otherwise, the audience will feel the same way too. So I have to keep digging out some interesting points of the game and share them with the audience.'