Kung fu star on the make
Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Donnie Yen. You may wonder who could be next in line as kung fu superstar. We have a possible choice for you: wushu athlete Steven Chan Chung-tin from Lam Tai Fai College.
Steven is not just an ordinary teenager who daydreams about becoming a star. The Hong Kong wushu team's up-and-coming young talent has just turned 16, but he is already a top junior wushu athlete in Hong Kong. 'I saw Jet Li's action film Fearless, a biopic about master Huo Yuan Jia, and fell in love with kung fu,' Steven says. 'I want to be like him and promote kung fu to the whole world.'
Then he saw another famous film, Ip Man, starring Donnie Yen. 'I watched the film in a cinema with my father and I became very excited,' the teen says. 'I even tried out some of the combat techniques from the film with my father in the cinema's foyer.'
The Form Four student, who specialised in the nan quan style of wushu, also began to learn wing chun after watching Ip Man.
Steven wants to follow in the footsteps of kung fu's greatest celluloid stars, and he certainly has both the looks and the skills of an action hero in the making.
He has the necessary discipline and drive, too. 'I broke my arm one month before the World Junior Championships in Singapore last year,' Steven recalls. 'My doctor said it would take at least six weeks to heal, but I recovered quickly and made it to Singapore.' He won the bronze medal in the tournament.
Seeing athletes from various countries compete in Singapore in a traditional Chinese sport warmed his heart. 'A girl from Iran performed very well and that made me happy,' he says. 'Wushu originated in China and I was touched to see people from other nations show their love for my country's culture.'
Yet Steven knows that he has a long way to go before he can become an internationally recognised ambassador for the sport. The first step is to build up his reputation through excellent performances in competitions. He has been doing just that. The student won two gold medals and one bronze at the All Hong Kong Secondary Schools Wushu Competition 2010-2011 last April.
'I will represent Hong Kong at the China Intercity Games in October,' Steven says. 'Our team wants to send athletes who have rankings from major tournaments. As I competed at the World Championships and won a bronze, I was selected to compete in the Intercity Games.'
Unfortunately that means he won't be able to compete at the All China Secondary School Students' Games, for which he has also qualified. 'It is a pity that I can't compete for my school at the Schools Games,' he says. 'To make up for it, I'll have to do my best at the Intercity Games.'
So keep your eyes peeled. One day you might see Steven's face beaming at you from a poster at a cinema near you.