Participants at the 11th Inter-school Trampoline Competition had a good time showing off their skills on the bouncy canvas. The two-day event, organised by the Gymnastics Association of Hong Kong (GAHK), was held at the Harbour Road Sports Centre in Wan Chai over the weekend. It attracted more than 120 students from 24 schools. Trampoline is one of six categories of gymnastics. It has been part of the Olympic Games since 2000. The gymnasts perform simple jumps or more complex routines like somersaults and twists. Although the sport originated in Europe, mainland athletes have become the best in the world. Some local artistic gymnasts, such as Derek Chu Wai-hung, have switched to the trampoline. Derek, 16, took up the sport three years ago. 'When I was small, I was attracted by gymnastics shows on TV. The gymnasts were really cool! That's why I started learning gymnastics,' he said. 'However, training is harsh and competition is keen. I felt I was not enjoying it any more. Therefore, I switched to trampoline. I find it more relaxing and interesting. 'I can perform many jumps and drops, somersaults and twists on the mat. I enjoy doing it alone, but I also like to compete in synchronised trampoline.' The Form Four student from Carmel Pak U Secondary School said he 'likes to play games' on the canvas. For example, 'I stay in the centre of the mat. Then a gymnast will jump in towards me from each of the four corners at the same time, trying to bounce me to a much higher level. It's really exciting', he added. Last weekend, Derek won the boys' Grade B championship, giving him more confidence as he prepares for a competition next month. 'I made some mistakes at the competition last November. From then on, I practised much harder and I am on the right track now. I'm really happy about it,' he said. Another winner, Poon Wing-tung, 15, also turned to the trampoline after being an artistic gymnast for a few years. The Form Three student from Immanuel Lutheran College is the girls' Grade A champion. With a series of smooth, elegant aerial routines, Wing-tung easily claimed the title. 'I started to learn gymnastics when I was a kindergarten student. I turned to the trampoline when I was in Primary Five,' she said. 'I like it because bouncing on the mat gives me more time to do more tricks. Also, the combination of skills can be richer and more flexible.' Although Derek and Wing-tung have switched from artistic gymnastics to the trampoline, gymnastics coach Patrick Lam Pak-leung said more children learn the former discipline. 'Trampoline is still not very popular in Hong Kong, even though it became an Olympic sport in the year 2000. This is partly because of the limited space in Hong Kong,' Lam said. 'First of all, it's hard to find a school or a gym room that can accommodate a few trampoline mats. Then it's also difficult to find a venue with a ceiling that is high enough for gymnasts to practise. 'Moreover, people tend to have fewer kids these days, and at the same time, children have more options in terms of extra-curricular activities. In the circumstances, both trampoline and artistic gymnastics are facing the same problem - the decreasing number of participants.' For children who are interested in learning the trampoline, Lam suggested that they start at the age of six. However, teenagers can also give it a try, he added.