Squash champ's A-Levels angst

School studies are taking priority over squash for Hong Kong student Rebecca Chiu Wing-yin, the current Asian junior singles squash champion.

Wing-yin, 18, who won her title in India in February, has had to swap her lightweight racquet for some heavyweight school textbooks.

Like thousands of territory students, she is revising for her A-Level examinations in four subjects - chemistry, biology, Chinese and English. Cutting back on sporting activities is therefore a priority for Wing-yin, who attends the Jockey Club Ti-I College in Sha Tin.

'I don't really like taking exams,' she conceded. 'Hopefully I won't get too nervous. I'll just try to do my best.' She sat her first examination, for English, yesterday. Her final paper, for biology, is on April 18.

Apart from being Asia's top junior, Wing-yin is also the territory's No 2 player at senior level behind Dawn Olsen.

And despite the impending A-Levels, she was given special permission by her school to play in February's junior championships. Wing-yin rewarded the Jockey Club Ti-I College by returning home as the only unbeaten player in both the singles and team event, in which Hong Kong's girls finished runners-up.

'I think I'm doing okay with my studies,' she said. 'I'm not behind in my revision. Despite playing in the junior championships I have managed to keep up with my school work. It is very important to do well.

Tony Choi Wuk-kwan, director of coaching for Hong Kong Squash, praised Wing-yin as an 'exceptional talent'.

Upon passing her A-Levels she hopes to go to the Chinese University of Hong Kong to study sports science.

More immediate concerns will centre on returning to her strenuous training regime at the Hong Kong Sports Institute in preparation for the territory's Closed Squash Championships in May.

Last month she picked up her fifth straight junior award - plus prize-money of $20,000 - at Hong Kong's Coca-Cola Sports Stars Awards in recognition of her outstanding achievements.