‘Most families would be planning for 12 months, we have four weeks’: father of 16-year-old Arabella Ng, set to be Hong Kong’s sole representative at the Winter Olympics, talks about his daughter’s dramatic rise
Tim Ng says they are still awaiting official confirmation from the IOC but their calculations suggest his daughter will become Hong Kong’s sixth winter Olympian at the February 9-25 extravaganza
The father of Arabella Ng, who is in line to become Hong Kong’s sole participant at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, spoke of his pride and surprise that the 16-year-old is competing at the elite level in just her first year on the senior circuit.
Tim Ng said they were still awaiting official confirmation from the IOC (International Olympic committee) on her qualification but their calculations suggested his daughter would become just Hong Kong’s sixth winter Olympian at the February 9-25 extravaganza.
“Qualification ends on the 21st of January, but doing the maths it seems she has done enough to qualify,” said Tim Ng. “We haven’t heard anything official yet, but it’s likely she will qualify in both the slalom and giant slalom events.”
Arabella, who attends the illustrious Green Mountain Valley School, a ski academy in Vermont, US, is set to fulfil the requirements for the IOC’s “B standard” for qualification, which states a national Olympic committee can put forward an athlete if they have accrued 140 FIS (International Ski Federation) points over an average of five races.
She competed in her first senior level FIS race in November last year.
“She’s training hard and still trying to make sure she gets the required points; she was competing in just the last few days,” said Tim Ng.
He also revealed his daughter’s qualification came as a huge surprise for the family and they had not expected her to make such rapid progress in the sport.
“It was definitely a surprise at this stage in her first season of senior racing,” he said. “She’s only just turned 16, so it was a nice surprise when we got the notice from Edmund (Yue, chairman of the Ski Association of Hong Kong) that she may qualify for the Winter Games. It’s not something we were expecting.”
The youngster, who began skiing on family trips at three years old, is yet to decide if she wants to be a full-time skier.
“It’s still very early days in terms of whether or not she will pursue a career in the sport,” Tim Ng said. “She attends a top, top skiing school and it has produced a number of Winter Olympians.
“Who knows where she’ll be in four or eight year’s time?”
Such has been her rapid rise that the family only found out after Christmas that she could be in line to represent Hong Kong in South Korea.
“It will be a fantastic experience for her and the family,” Tim Ng said. “Most families would be planning for 12 months before the games, while we have four weeks to prepare.”
Last week, ski officials in Hong Kong said they were optimistic that Arabella would fly the flag for the city in Pyeongchang.
Samson Siu, secretary general of the Ski Association of Hong Kong, outlined a timetable for the Hong Kong delegation’s departure to South Korea.
“We’re currently preparing for the flag raising ceremony in early February,” Siu said. “Arabella returns to Hong Kong on February 6, there will be a press conference on February 7 and she will go to Korea on February 8.”
Siu said he was hoping for a boost in winter sports participation from local schools on the back of Ng’s success.
“We would like to see more schools in Hong Kong joining our interschool events and programmes so more young athletes can represent Hong Kong in international ski or snowboard competitions,” he said.
Ng comes from a family of Hong Kong athletes. Her aunt, Fenella Ng Gar-loc, competed at the Summer Olympics in swimming and rowing and won four Asian Games medals during her career. Another aunt, Caroline Ng Gar-yun, represented Hong Kong at the Asian Games in swimming.