Caring contender

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 August, 2011, 12:00am

For many Hong Kong people, the most memorable scene from last year's Asian Games in Guangzhou was the bike crash of Jamie Wong Wan-yiu. The local cycling team heroine picked herself up after cracking a rib and continued to race even though she was in great pain, managing to come in second. She had to be helped up to the podium to collect her medal.

This touching moment won her the Hong Kong Sportsmanship Stars Award for 2010, and many commercial job opportunities followed.

But few know that the Asian Games silver medallist is also busy out of the spotlight, doing something truly meaningful.

Wong, 24, won the points race at the 2008 Track Cycling World Cup Classics in Copenhagen, Denmark but only became well known to Hongkongers after the accident at the Asian Games. The local medal hope for the London Olympics is now focusing on qualifying for the big event next year. But that hasn't lessened her desire to contribute to society.

Wong's first charitable act was to sponsor an abandoned baby via the Po Leung Kuk charity organisation right after the Asian Games. 'This poor newborn was abandoned by its parents and I am glad that I can help,' says Wong.

While she is looking forward to seeing the baby, she first needs to take a course to learn how to communicate with kids.

However, scheduling may prove to be a problem as 'they don't hold [the courses] very frequently, and I am rarely in Hong Kong at the moment', she says.

Wong also told Young Post that she will have a new responsibility starting from next week.

'I will officially join the management committee of Po Leung Kuk Dr Jimmy Wong Chi-ho (Tin Sum Valley) Primary School in Sha Tin. Actually I attended Po Leung Kuk Chee Jing Yin Primary School, which was combined with this school after I left. So most teachers in Wong Chi-ho Primary School were my primary teachers,' she says.

The cycling champion misses her old days at primary school, and she has already agreed to become an alumni manager.

'It feels quite strange as the manager's post serves the same function as a member of the board of directors in the past. I thought only aged people could take the post, but I'm not that old yet,' she jokes.

The Hong Kong team cyclist has many plans in mind for 'her' school, but again, time is a scarce resource.

'It's not easy for me to make school visits when I have to spend almost the whole year training on the mainland. But I'm working with my teachers to fix some dates for assembly talks, class visits and games sessions at school. I will share what I've learned in life and I hope students will benefit from it,' says Wong.

This year is Wong's 10th anniversary of joining the sport. Before taking up cycling, she was a rower on the Hong Kong team.

'I tried out because a cyclist friend of my rowing teammate invited us. The cycling team didn't have a female cyclist and I was the only one that joined in the end. That was a turning point in my life.'

Wong wants to share her favourite sport with everyone. 'Cycling has turned me into a totally different person. It has taken me around the world and I've learned a lot in training and competition. I never know what the sport will bring me next,' she says.

This year, she gave some photos taken during her travels to a charity, and they turned them into postcards for fund-raising.

'I had no idea my photos could be so useful - as well as sharing my hard work, they can also help people in need,' she says.

It seems likely that more exciting and meaningful experiences lie ahead on Wong's two-wheeled journey.

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Caring contender

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