‘A proud feeling’: 2021 Student of the Year Sportsperson Award winner on representing Hong Kong in horse riding competitions

Clara Ki Lu
  • Vincent Capol, winner of the Asian Junior Grand Prix in the 2019 Longines Masters of Hong Kong, discusses how working with a horse has taught him to be adaptable
  • The 17-year-old show jumper is also in his final year at German Swiss International School, and dreams of one day competing at the Olympics
Clara Ki Lu |

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Vincent Capol was 15 years old when he won the Asian Junior Grand Prix in the first year it was offered at the 2019 Longines Masters of Hong Kong. Photo: CWH

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Winner of the 2021 Student of the Year Sportsperson Award, Vincent Capol hopes that he can “inspire other young athletes to continue to work hard and pursue their passion”.

Capol, now in his final year at German Swiss International School, also won the Asian Junior Grand Prix in the 2019 Longines Masters of Hong Kong. This was the first year the junior competition was offered at the event.

“Whenever I ... represent Hong Kong, it’s always a proud feeling. Because you’re not just doing it for yourself,” the 17-year-old said, recalling the feeling of winning in front of a crowd at home.

Read about all the competitors in the first-ever junior events at the Longines Masters

Because of his performance at that competition, Capol caught the eye of Swiss Olympic bronze medallist Pius Schwizer and gained the opportunity to train with the equestrian during the summer of 2019.

Capol learned an important lesson from Schwizer: to succeed in anything, including sports, you must always give your best effort.

The young show jumper, however, does not ride horses only for success and prizes. “As athletes, [we] can get really carried away with competitions,” he said.

During the pandemic, tournaments were cancelled, and Capol took time to reflect on why he trained so hard.

“Outside of competing and getting results ... it’s just my biggest hobby. It’s a really enjoyable time for me,” he said.

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At the age of six, Capol started his journey riding horses. Throughout the years, he has learned the importance of perseverance, patience and adaptability.

“Horses can be very unpredictable,” he said. “So things won’t always go according to plan even if you feel like you’re in really good shape.”

While other sports mostly focus on athletes’ abilities, showjumping also requires the cooperation and abilities of a horse. “This sport requires a lot of planning and patience,” he added.

At local competitions, Vincent Capol usually rides with his horse named Angel. Photo: Hong Kong Equestrian Federation

However, despite the difficulties they have faced together, Capol’s horses have become his teammates. He spoke fondly of the horse he had been riding for the past few years, Angel. He said, “[Your horse is] sort of like a teammate. You go through lots of ups and downs together. So you also develop a bond or friendship.”

While he is still unsure what the future holds for him, Capol is passionate about continuing his horse riding career. If he could one day represent Hong Kong and compete in the Olympics, he said “that will be a dream come true”.

The award results were announced in July. Now in its 40th year, the competition recognises the achievements of secondary school students, with 11 awards across nine categories. It is organised by the South China Morning Post and sponsored by the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

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