A higher goal for special minds

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 June, 2011, 12:00am


Jim Sze-chung, executive director of the Hong Kong Sports Association for the Mentally Handicapped (HKSAM), loves to compete in sports, but winning is not the most important thing for him. It is the process of fighting together as a team that he finds fascinating.

Despite his love for sports, Jim concedes that he is not a gifted athlete. But his passion for sports has allowed him to contribute to the planning of sporting events.

Jim was awarded the Timothy Fok Scholastic Award for Sports and Recreation Management last year while he was studying for his master's degree in sports and leisure management at the Hong Kong Baptist University.

How has your experience helped you in your current position ?

I love ballgames, but to be honest, I was not really good at it. So most of the time, I just sat on the bench. I spent my time observing how to run a sporting event. I enjoyed well-prepared competitions or activities and I apply [what I learned] to my work. I help arrange athletes' training and competitions, and lead my colleagues in planning a successful event. I used to be a benchwarmer so I understand how it feels to be one. I not only share the glory with the stars but also pay attention to every team member.

Why did you get into this field?

I love helping young people. I had wanted to be a social worker but realised I may not be able to face the sorrow of troubled youth. I wanted to do something that makes people happy. 'Recreation' means to re-create and in Chinese it means health and happiness. I believe people could re-create their energy through a fun process and lead a healthy life.

When were you most inspired?

I learned a lot during my two years' stint as an instructor at the Hong Kong Outward Bound school. My duty was to conduct various types of courses to help clients develop leadership, teamwork and to grow as individuals.

Who inspired you?

When I was in Form Two, I attended a workshop organised by Ng Kin-sun, the recreation and sports cum camp services executive secretary at the Chinese YMCA of Hong Kong. I was deeply impressed with Ng's energetic and amusing way of leading games and delivering messages.

What is the biggest challenge in your career?

Joining the organisation where I currently work. It is an entirely new job for me as I have had little experience in running sports for elite athletes with intellectual disability. Luckily, my colleagues are very supportive and I know lots of friends and schoolmates who have been working in this field for a long time. I am still learning.

What are your goals?

I wish to introduce the benefits of sports to people with intellectual disability. I want to let them know how sports could change their lives. For myself, I would like to stay fit and learn to be happier.

What is your motto?

We have the option to work or not. If we decide to work, we need to work more than 100 per cent because we have been paid 100 per cent. I always remind myself and my colleagues about this.

What's the future of the city's sports and recreational industry?