If sports achievements are any indication of a territory's spirit, Macau is working hard to match bigger cities such as Hong Kong and those on the mainland. Armando Amante, 16, who won the Macau squash championships in both the youth and open categories last month, is proof that local athletes have the ability to compete with teams from Hong Kong and other major Chinese cities. 'I'm prepared for this battle, because we have regularly practised,' he said before a tournament earlier this month, in which teams from Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Macau took part. 'Apart from Hong Kong, competitors from Shanghai have also come to this event. So I am going to put in all my effort, and my objective is to win the gold for Macau.' Macau came second in the competition, which was held at the Hyatt Regency squash court from January 8 to10. Hong Kong clinched the gold, but the enclave's players can be proud of their effort. While Macau's athletes need to improve their skills, Armando said stamina and perseverance were even more important. 'Having superior skills is not enough if you run out of breath,' he said. In boxing, youths from Macau and Hong Kong recently got together for a friendly bout. Macau's Cheong Long, 16, who came third last October in the 57-kilogram category at the Asian Youth Boxing Championships held in Vietnam, won easily over a Hong Kong teenager. Meanwhile, in the women's category, Wong Sio-chou, 16, defeated a more experienced Hong Kong boxer, according to a press release from the Macau Boxing Association. In the countdown to the East Asian Games, to be held in Macau later this year, local sports associations are seizing every opportunity to train their athletes. Recently, the Macau swimming squad invited the mainland Chinese A team to the former Portuguese enclave to train with them. Wushu remains the sport in which Macau is strongest. Earlier this month, the government presented prize money to the Macau team who claimed three gold, three silver and five bronze medals at the sixth Asian Wushu Championship. In 2004, Macau were runners-up at the Asian Thai Boxing Competition and collected two silver and one bronze medal at the Asian Dragon Boat Championships. Even athletes such as Armando and Cheong, whose sports are not included in the 17 events at the East Asian Games, share the same desire for excellence. They are motivated by the fact that victory reflects not only on themselves as individuals, but also on Macau's reputation.