The athletes that we feature here in Young Post have undeniable skill and talent in their respective sports. They dominate on the field, court, pool or pitch playing for their teams whether at the school or national level.
But as Justin Mak found out, playing for youth teams - even at the highest level - is still worlds away from competing at adult level.
Justin, age 14 and a student at Island School, plays hockey for the Hong Kong U18 team. He plays hard, and enjoys his time on the field representing the city.
“I am part of the Men’s D team in Hong Kong Football Club Hockey and also have recently been offered a chance to trial for the Hong Kong Under-21 team,” Justin says.
The experience of playing with and against adults was the biggest challenges Justin has had to face in his seven years playing hockey. “I was just so surprised,” he says. “It’s a whole new game physically and tactically compared to playing youth hockey.”
But he has risen to the challenge, and is putting his new experience and knowledge to good use in youth competitions. He’s focused on continuing to grow, with his sights set high.
“The ultimate goal for me in terms of hockey is for sure to someday play in the Hockey India League - one of the top hockey leagues in the world,” he explains.
For now though, Justin is enjoying immersing himself in this technically and physically challenging sport.
“My favourite thing about hockey is being able to focus on just playing and forget about everything else,” he says.
What song/movie title best describes you when you’re playing your sport?
No More Sorrow by Linkin Park, because when I play hockey, that’s how I feel – all the stress and worry (and sorrow) falls away. Hockey is my escape from the hectic world.
You can have any superpower you choose for 24 hours. What do you choose and how do you use this power?
To be able to learn/memorise anything I willed myself to. I would use this power not only for school stuff, but also other things such as a language, musical instrument, or a new hockey skill or move.
If you could have an unlimited supply of anything, what would it be and why?
Time. Doing my school work as well as pursuing the things I love eats up a lot of my schedule, so if I had unlimited supply of time, I would be able to balance all these and spend as much time on them as I want to.
10 years in the future, you are a famous athlete. What company do you sign on as spokesperson for, and what product do you promote?
Adidas. I’ve always been a fan of their Astro boots to play hockey. They are really great to play in – light, good grip, not too clunky.