Young Hong Kong windsurfer sails into the history books, winning international youth title

Hard work and dedication pay off for teenage competitor at world championships in Italy

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 October, 2016, 9:57pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 01 November, 2016, 3:14pm

Some work their entire lives to make it into sport’s history books, but one young Hong Kong windsurfer has done just that, at the tender age of 13.

On the waters of Lake Garda in Italy Mak Cheuk-wing joined the ranks of the city’s elite competitors, winning a title in an international youth-class race.

She beat favourites Mathilde Garandeau from France and Linoy Geva from Israel to take first place in the Techno 293 junior girls U-15 class. Garandeau and Geva came second and third respectively. It was Hong Kong’s first world title in the Techno class.

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Seen as a path to the Youth Olympic Games, the Techno 293 class is an international windsurfing race for competitors under the age of 17.

A delighted Mak, who began windsurfing at the age of nine, ­remained humble and said she owed on Saturday to her success to her coaches, Cheng Hing-lun, who coaches her in Hong Kong, and Cheung Kwok-fai, who led the Hong Kong team to Italy.

“[Cheng Hing-lun] always pushes me to train harder and [Cheng Kwok-fai] here in Garda helped me fine tune my skills and tactics before racing,” said Mak, who also thanked her parents “for supporting me and allowing me to do a sport that I love”.

“I am really happy to win this title this time after I missed out at the Europeans in July.”

In the Techno 293 European Championships in Poland, she finished second.

“She is a very talented athlete. She is able to pick up new skills very quickly,” Cheng Kwok-fai said.

In a post on his Facebook page, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying congratulated Mak, calling her Hong Kong’s “new star”.

Hong Kong fielded a total of six surfers to compete in three of the categories.

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Leung Pui-hei finished 11th in the U-17 boys division. His teammates Cho Yuk-man and Ho Siu-wing finished 28th and 37th.

Leung said his performances had been affected by the windier conditions on Lake Garda.“We had medium to strong winds during racing and that was a bit difficult for me,” he said.

He vowed to work hard and has his sights set on a medal at the 2018 Youth Olympics.

In the U-17 girls division, Kan Yik-hei finished 22nd, with teammate Chan Tsz-wai finishing 31st.

The Hong Kong team is ­expected to return home on ­Monday.