Young athletes have to work hard to stay at the top of their game. For four local athletes, the effort has paid off, and they have won a trip to New Zealand. The four, all aged under 19, received their prizes at the Outstanding Junior Athlete Awards organised by Hong Kong Sports Institute last Wednesday. East Asian Games silver medallist Kong Man-yi is one of the recipients. The 17-year-old swimmer took a short break after the games, but now is back to her hectic schedule. She trains before and after school, so has little time for herself. 'It's really exhausting. I can only rest on Sundays,' says the American International School student. Man-yi is therefore especially excited about the trip. 'I've never been to New Zealand. I can't wait to see the spectacular blue sky, green grass, and the beautiful and relaxing environment,' she says, adding she is also looking forward to meeting and learning from the top athletes there. 'It's a good chance for me to learn about another side of the world. Staying away from life in the city will definitely help me to relax a lot.' Man-yi says she will start a harsher training cycle when she returns to Hong Kong. 'I have to prepare for the Youth Olympics in August, as well as the Asian Games in November. Therefore, even in New Zealand, I have to squeeze in some time for physical training to keep fit,' says Man-yi, who is currently ranked best in the world in her age group, in the 100 metres breaststroke women's category. 'My target is to bring back medals in whatever colours,' she adds. Another winner, Lee Ho-ching, 17, agrees that the trip is the best reward for her hard work. As a full-time professional table tennis player, Ho-ching has much less holiday and free time than other teenagers. 'Lunar New Year is the longest holiday we can take. I hardly get the chance to travel around the world, so I appreciate and cherish this award so much,' she says. She hopes to gain first-hand experience of New Zealanders' customs and culture. A table tennis match is waiting for Ho-ching in April on the mainland. 'I really hope the trip can energise me and prepare me better for the upcoming competition,' she says. Wushu artist Fung Wing-see, 18, and table tennis player Ng Wing-nam,17, are also going on the trip. Wing-see hopes to share Hong Kong culture, especially martial arts, with New Zealand, while Wing-nam is looking forward to playing friendly matches. Visit www.hksi.org.hk for the full list of award recipients.