Swimmer gets through to Olympics

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 June, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 June, 2000, 12:00am

With hard work and dedication up-and-coming swimmer Chiu Sin- wing has fulfilled her mother's dream of being able to take part in the Olympic Games.

Sin-wing recently came sixth in the women's 100-metres breaststroke at the sixth Asian Swimming Championships in Pusan, South Korea with a new Hong Kong record of 1 minute 13.71 seconds.

The result earned her a ticket to the Sydney Olympic Games in September.

'Taking part in the Olympic Games is every athlete's dream. I'm very excited about participating in the world's largest sporting event. No matter what hardships I will have to face, I'll try to do my very best,' said the fourth former from Maryknoll Convent School.

Sin-wing's mother, Becky Chiu Lo Siu-kuen was a former top swimmer in Hong Kong during the 70's. She stole the limelight in the territory's breaststroke swimming competitions and represented Hong Kong at the Asian Games in Bangkok and Iran in 1970 and 1974 respectively. She qualified to join the Olympic Games. However, lacking of financial support from the Government dashed her dream.

'With the aim of realising my mother's Olympic dream, I motivated myself to work harder. Now, she's very excited about my participation in the Olympics,' she said.

Sin-wing said she wanted to learn from the world's top swimmers and improve her swimming skills at the Olympics and be on the top 16 list in the breaststroke event.

In Hong Kong, parents generally, oppose their children taking up sports seriously for fear of neglecting their studies. But Sin- wing's mother supports her daughter's sports activities. 'I was an athlete before, so I understand her difficulties. I have never put any pressure on her. If she does what she likes well, she need not have regrets if she fails.' Ms Chiu requested parents to support their children in their sports activities. 'Sports should be promoted among young people. The main aim of sport is not only to make them physically strong. It also develops their character and boosts their self- confidence,' she said.

She said Sin-wing has set a good example of how athletes can maintain a balance between their studies and sports. 'She has never complained about harsh training and has shown her dedication to swimming. I'm very proud of her achievements and the opportunity she has of taking part in the Olympics. I hope she will be able to represent Hong Kong at the Asian Games and the next Olympic Games.' To prepare for the Olympic Games, Sin-wing has undertaken an intensive training schedule at the Sports Institute. The training is designed to maximise her physical fitness and improve her swimming skills. She hopes to join training camps in Hawaii and Bangkok after finishing her school examination.

Sin-wing said there was a long way to go for Hong Kong swimmers to catch up with the world's top swimmers from the mainland and the United States.

The talented young swimmers in Hong Kong could reach international standards. But to do that, there must be facilities and support from schools.

She suggested that beginners should learn different swimming styles rather than only specialise in one.

Sin-wing recently won the Sports Development Board's (SDB) Outstanding Junior Athlete Awards for the first quarter of 2000 with young windsurfer Cheng Kwok-fai. The award recognised her brilliant results achieved between January and March at international meets.

'Concentrate on the challenges ahead instead of feeling sorry about past failure. That's my recipe for success,' she said.

The award is one of the activities under 'The Sports Movement Campaign'. It is a territory-wide programme organised by the SDB this year. It also encourages people to have sportsmanship in their everyday activities.