Fire in their hearts helps table tennis duo to bronze in Busan
Hong Kong's young women's doubles pair, Doo Hoi-kem and Li Ching-wan, upset the odds by bagging bronze at the Asian championships in Busan, South Korea, on Sunday.
But head coach Chan Kwong-wah has urged them to keep their feet on the ground.
"The result will give their careers a strong boost," Chan said. "They started from nowhere but ended up standing on the medal podium. This is a marvellous achievement but it will only get harder from now on.
"From a technical viewpoint, they still have a lot more to learn before they can reach the standards of the very best players. This is not going to be easy."
The defeat of experienced Singaporeans Feng Tianwei and Yu Mengyu in the quarter-finals put Doo, 16, and Li, 18, into the last four, and although they lost to eventual champions Chen Meng and Zhu Yuling of China, they won bronze as there is no play-off for third place. The two juniors also overcame South Korea pair Cho Ha-la and Song Mae-um in the round of 16.
Li Ching, who coached the women's team, was delighted with the performance. "They are young but they fear nobody," the former Olympic silver medallist said.
"Coupled with a bit of luck, they had an excellent tournament, but of course they will need to work harder if they want to break into the elite ranks."
Doo, who went full-time only last year, said they were inspired by the success of teammates Jiang Huajun, Lee Ho-ching and Guan Mengyuan, who won silver in the women's team event.
"We thought, 'If they can win a medal, why not us," said Doo, who will take part in next month's Asian Youth Games in Nanjing. "There was fire in our hearts."