Coach's big hand in triumph

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 March, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 March, 2010, 12:00am

Behind every successful team there's usually a talented, hard-working coach.

Following their double triumph at the All Hong Kong Schools Jing Ying Handball Tournament, members of both Shek Lei Catholic Secondary School boys' and girls' teams agreed the glory should belong to their coach, Wong To.

'Without coach Wong, I wouldn't be the person I am,' says the tournament's Most Valuable Player, Cheng Chun-wing, 19.

On court, Chun-wing is an experienced and steady player. His power and speed make him a difficult opponent. Off court, he is a tough sportsman who trains hard.

Being a responsible team member, Chun-wing also leads younger players during practice. But it was a totally different story when he first took up handball six years ago.

'I was a bad player at that time. I didn't concentrate during training and didn't know how to respect the sport or others,' he said. 'But coach Wong didn't give up on me. He guided and taught me patiently, not only handball skills, but inter-personal skills as well.'

Handball is clearly more than just a sport for many of the members of the Shek Lei teams.

The game has given them confidence, life goals, friends and dignity.

Chun-wing said handball also gave him the motivation to pass the HKCEE.

'I love playing handball because of its speed. I enjoy every attack. I like the cheering around the court when I'm playing in a competition. I studied hard to reach Form Six so I could continue playing for this school,' he said.

Now, it's the turn of Choy Ming-wai, the girls' MVP in the Jing Ying Tournament, to face the public exams.

'My greatest hope and target is to achieve a good result in the public exam and continue to be a member of Shek Lei's handball team,' said Ming-wai, who led her team to defend their crown at the Tournament.

'I love handball because it gives me targets, confidence and a sense of self-worth,' she says.

Despite last month's clean sweep at Kowloon Park Sports Centre, coach Wong is not optimistic about defending the two championships. There may be no girls' team in the next school term.

'We don't have many girl players,' he said.

Although handball looks like a sport for boys, Wong said it is suitable for girls as well and he would like to see more playing.

'Handball requires power, but tactics, speed and teamwork are equally important. Girls can make good handball players,' he said, adding he was happy to see the sport becoming increasingly popular at secondary schools.