Queen Maud girls rule the river with record-tying 12th successive title
The 2010 Secondary School Canoe Competition had its serious as well as lighter moments. While HKMLC Queen Maud Secondary School were one of the big winners, some beginners found the going hard - in fact they could not get their boats to move at all.
To add to the fun, several boats tipped over when crossing the finishing line. Also, a low-flying bird with a fish in its mouth scared a female canoeist.
However, none of this could distract the girls' team from Queen Maud who grabbed a record-equalling 12th consecutive overall title.
Almost 300 athletes and about 1,000 boats took part in the two-day event held at Shing Mun river in Sha Tin. It was a record number of participants, and they competed in three categories - 1,000m, 500m and 200m - and two boat types, kayak and T-boat, which is used for recreation in Hong Kong. A total of 97 races were completed.
Queen Maud's Dragon Lung Mei-kuen, a member of the Hong Kong youth team, won five gold medals for the third year in a row. Her outstanding performance helped her team score 148 points in all races to top the standings. The second-placed team had just 28 points. 'We had good preparation and were confident that we would win the championship again,' said Dragon.
Her teacher, Shek Wing-ha, was happy to see the team winning again. 'I have been the teacher-in-charge of the team for more than 10 years. These athletes are young and still have room for improvement. We will be returning next year hoping to win our 13th title,' she said.
Jeff Cheung Tsz-chung from Tsang Pik Shan Secondary School won three gold, one silver and one bronze medal. Jeff, who is also a windsurfer, hopes his performance would enable him to join the Hong Kong canoe youth team.
He was a key member of his school team who won the boys' overall title. 'I was a little disappointed that I didn't win four gold medals and win some more points for my school. But I am delighted my school won the overall title for the first time,' said Jeff.
His teacher, Chor Kam-fai, didn't expect the team to beat reigning champions Hong Kong Sailing School by eight points. 'We use canoeing to train our students to be mentally and physically stronger. It is good to see their improvement.' Chor said.
The boys' team from Tin Shui Wai Methodist Secondary School excelled in the two-man boat races. Form Four student Mok Chi-kuen won four gold medals in T2 sprints with two different partners, Chan Wing-kit and Tang Pak-hang.
There were also brilliant individual performances. Lawrence Wan Man-ho, 15, the only representative from Queen's College, won his three kayak sprints (200m, 500m and 1.000m).
Kevin is a Young Post intern