Athlete jumps at the chance to set new skipping record
Tai Po teen set a world record of 500 skips in three minutes in the US two years ago. Now, he wants to push it further in front of a home crowd
In the time it takes to cook a bowl of instant noodles, Timothy Ho Chu-ting proved himself the best in the world.
But his three-minute achievement had nothing to do with the kitchen: it's the length of time he took to set a world record of 500 skips.
The 19-year-old from Tai Po set the record at the Rope Skipping World Championships in Tampa, Florida, two years ago.
Now he aims to beat his own record at the same event, which opens at the Hong Kong Coliseum on Friday.
Watch: Meet the world's fastest rope skipper
"I achieved my personal best at a local competition last December, with exactly 530 skips in three minutes," Ho said.
"I am not on top form right now, but if I can perform at the level that I usually reach in practice, I should still reach 520 skips or more, which is still enough to break the record."
Ho, who excels in both speed and freestyle skipping, became an icon of the sport in Hong Kong after his success at the championships in the US.
He began skipping when he was in Primary Two, and has been training with the Hong Kong Rope Skipping Club since then. "I was skipping in the garden at my school," he said. "My teacher saw I could skip fast and recruited me to join a skipping leisure class."
He said he didn't have a strong feeling for the sport at first but "fell in love with it" when he participated in his first Asian championships in India. "I was amazed by the atmosphere of the competition," he said.
Ho, who has just finished his first year of higher diploma studies in sports coaching at the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education in Chai Wan, said that he never gets bored with the sport - even after 11 years of training.
"From time to time, I and my teammates create our own freestyles and also watch freestyle clips of other teams on YouTube. If we are not busy preparing for competitions, we always try to do their new freestyle tricks. I like the feeling of satisfaction when we successfully conquer and execute them," Ho said.
His coach, Ken Cheng Kam-yuen, said Ho stood out from other athletes because of his determination and hard work.
"It is difficult for an athlete to give 80 to 90 per cent effort in training for a three-minute endurance event," Cheng said.
But Ho, he said, always pushed himself to the limit in training. "His attitude is his key to success," Cheng said.
Ho agreed with his coach. "I always think that diligence is a crucial factor for excellence in the sport. Right now, I still need to enhance my stability and beat my nervousness.
"I didn't perform well when the Asian championships were held in Hong Kong and I don't want the pressure," he said.
The skipping ace has been training six to seven days a week since late June to prepare for the championships and is excited about competing in front of a home crowd again.