athlete of the week
Name: Lawrence Wan Man-ho
School: Queen's College
Grade: Form Four
Sport: Canoeing (kayak boat)
Lawrence, 16, was part of the Hong Kong youth canoeing team last year. He won a silver medal in a national youth canoe championships on the mainland last year. He later left the team as he found it difficult to balance his studies with training sessions. Now he trains on his own.
He clinched three gold medals in kayak sprints - 200m, 500m and 1,000m - at the 2010 Secondary School Canoe Competition in Hong Kong. He came third at the 2010 Hong Kong Open Age Group Sprint Canoe Competition.
'The 2010 Secondary School Canoe Competition was a turning point for me. I came back strongly after some poor starts in the event,' says Lawrence.
'I lagged behind at the start of all the sprint finals. But I somehow managed to catch up with the leading canoeists, including in the very short 200m sprint. And unexpectedly I came first in all the kayak singles races. It was an amazing experience.
'After my success in inter-school competitions, I am now targeting the open category of other canoeing events. I will probably skip the schools competition and focus on higher-level tournaments. This is a hard decision for me, but it is one way to improve and challenge myself.
'I would like to thank my coach Lee Chun-sai for her guidance since I took up canoeing in 2009. I made quick progress during a short time. I don't have a muscular body so I know I have to enhance my skills in order to be competitive in a race.'
From his coach
'Lawrence only started to practise canoeing about two years ago. I told him not to push himself too much and think that he must win every race. I first wanted him to have a good skills foundation like balancing the boat, so I didn't ask him to do a lot of workouts,' says Lawrence's private coach, Lee Chun-sai. 'Since he trained less in the first half of the year, he will mainly participate in doubles races, along with an experienced coach, in the coming months. I believe it will help Lawrence regain his form.'
'Although I left the Hong Kong youth team earlier this year, I would like to join the Hong Kong squad for senior canoeists aged over 18. To achieve this goal, I need to be more skilful and mature during races,' says Lawrence.