Twist of fate hits player's hopes
Basketball player Ronald Tsang Chung-hon of Diocesan Boys' School had been hoping for a chance to play at the inter-school competition.
This school year, that chance finally came, but an injury caused him to miss it.
The 18-year-old centre had not played well in the past two years and was listed as a reserve player for most matches at the inter-school games. However, he didn't give up.
His play improved, earning him the chance to play for the Hong Kong schools team at the All China Secondary School Students Games in July last year and the Hong Kong under-19 team at the National Intercity Games in October.
The trend indicated that Ronald was going to be a key player on his school team.
Yet maybe it is fate that has kept the Form Six student from the inter-school battlefield. He injured his knee in late October at the National Intercity Games in Nanchang , Jiangxi province.
'When I got back to Hong Kong, the doctor said I needed surgery, but suggested waiting to do it at the beginning of the Christmas holidays so that I would have more time to rest at home. I would also miss fewer school days,' says Ronald.
The surgery was to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. The doctor repaired it using part of another ligament in the knee.
'I had a similar surgery in 2009, and at that time the doctor used a ligament in my right thigh,' says Ronald.
He had to miss several matches; then he played in only one inter-school match before leaving for Nanchang - never thinking it would be his last match for his school.
'I need a long recovery period. Even though there are still two school tournaments left, in May and July, I am not going to play in the tournaments,' he says.
His school team were defeated in the quarter-final of the Jing Ying Tournament during the holidays.
Ronald stayed at home after the surgery. He couldn't play on court, but still spent him watching the pros. 'Fortunately, NBA matches were back during Christmas; I watched lots of games and played the PS3 game NBA 2012,' he says.
He got support from his mum and elder brother Roy, and also his classmate and good friend Ken Tai Kam-fung, who visited him at hospital and at home after his discharge.
Ronald is now well on the road to recovery. He had his stitches removed last week and has finished five sessions of physiotherapy so far. But he still needs crutches when he walks.
'Sometimes my right palm hurts, as I use it to support my body with the crutch,' he says.
What he found most troublesome is the extra time he needs to travel between home and school.
'My home is about five minutes walking distance from Tai Wai MTR station,' says Ronald. 'The journey usually takes 15minutes from my home to my school at Mong Kok East station.
'Now I can only walk slowly, and sometimes I even need to stop on the way to Tai Wai MTR. I now need at least double the time to get to school.'
Like other Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education candidates, he is now working hard to finish practice papers at school and studying at home.
'I have a basketball beside me, and I twirl it in the room all the time,' says Ronald. 'I can't bounce it, since my neighbours would complain about the noise.'
The young player is still optimistic about his sports career.
'I told myself to be patient during the healing process, and I should be fit again soon,' he says.