athlete of the week
Name Vicko Wong Ka-ho
School La Salle College
Grade Form Five
Sport Cross-country, triathlon
Achievements Vicko, 16, is a scholarship athlete on the Hong Kong triathlon junior team. He came second in the elite junior race at the 2009 Sprint Triathlon and Ultrakids Triathlon Championships.
He was also part of the runner-up team in last year's Subic Bay International male junior elite triathlon event in the Philippines, and finished fourth in the Thailand Mekong River ASTC Duathlon Asian Championships in March.
At school he is on the athletics team, which took the boys' team title at the 2010/11 Inter-school Athletics Championships (Hong Kong Island and Kowloon) Division One. He also ran for his school in the Inter-school Cross-Country Competition, finishing third in the Grade B boys event in 2009/10 and fourth in the Grade A boys in 2010/11.
Soundbite 'I was skinny, and short for my age and didn't look strong. Many people thought I was a junior secondary student even when I was in Form Four and they couldn't tell I was an athlete. It was upsetting when people told my teammates they were surprised to hear I was competing overseas,' Vicko says.
'But things are getting better. I had a growth spurt last year and I'm now more than 1.7 metres tall and more muscular. Before, my build affected my confidence and held me back in cycling because I didn't have the muscle power. I've been working really hard in the gym so that I can perform better.
'I competed in a duathlon by the Mekong River in Thailand a couple of months ago. I was a little worried because I had a crash in the same place three years ago and had to go to hospital for treatment. So my goal was to finish the race safely. But I ended up with a personal best at the competition, finishing fourth and clocking the team's fastest time. It was a real breakthrough, so now I'm focusing on getting better results overseas.'
From his coach 'Vicko has made good progress after years of training with the team. He will be in Form Six next year, but I think he will be able to strike a balance between his studies and triathlons,' said Hong Kong team coach Wan Shu-wah.
'Next week we will be selecting the team for the Yilan ASTC Triathlon Asian Championships to be held in Taiwan in August. I hope Vicko can qualify for the event and finish in the top 12 against the best Asian juniors racing there.'
Ambitions 'I'd like to experience life as a full-time athlete when I finish school next year,' Vicko says.
'I know it won't be easy, but it's always been my dream to become a professional triathlete. Making the senior team is my ultimate goal.'