A LOCAL TEENAGER has made nonsense of the Hong Kong misconception that young people can't excel in sport and at school simultaneously. Hong Kong junior squash team member and inter-school champion, student leader, and top grade scorer Vincent Yu Hok-yan has accepted an unconditional place at the renowned Princeton University in the United States. The 18-year old super-student turned down offers from several other leading institutions including Yale and Cornell, and will fly out to New Jersey to begin a four-year under-graduate programme in August. 'Playing a lot of sport doesn't affect the academic side as long as you balance it sensibly and don't over indulge,' said Vincent who is considering majoring in either financial engineering or astrophysics. 'Hong Kong people, especially parents, should encourage youth to develop sports talent. It will help, not hinder them,' said Vincent - who also found time this year to work with the Joint Schools Science Exhibition Organising Committee - a major student-led project. 'Universities measure you as a whole person and my squash ability definitely helped me get a place,' said Vincent who sat his sixth and final IB (International Baccalaureate) exam at Li Po Chun United College last Friday. His school has predicted he will score near maximum points in Chinese, English, Maths, Economics, Physics, and Chemistry and achieve an overall A grade. Despite looming exams, in the last six months Vincent has travelled to compete for Hong Kong at two major international junior events. At the World Junior Championships, held in India last December, he reached the second round, and at the Asian Junior Championships in Pakistan in February he made the third round. On top of this he was crowned the Hong Kong inter-school champion in January, and was a runner-up at both the Hong Kong Junior Open and closed events late last year. The busy teenager even squeezed in a visit to the United States in April to compare the facilities and courses offered to him at Yale and Princeton. Vincent's talent will be welcomed at Princeton, which in 1998 hosted the World Junior Squash Championship. The varsity team includes some of the world's top young players. Ranked the second best squash junior (under-19) in Hong Kong, the racquet ace acknowledges the support and encouragement of his parents, and careful training received from SI (Sports Institute) coaches Dick Leung and Tony Choi. The wisdom of his father, a school deputy principal and maths teacher, is especially valued. 'His balanced advice has helped my squash a lot,' said Vincent. Coach Leung said Vincent was an unusually tactically-aware player who could one day play on the pro circuit. 'He can become a professional after University - it depends on him. He is smart, he can do whatever he wants,' said Leung. 'He's a good thinker - there aren't many Hong Kong athletes like him.'