Hurdler Anson Cheung is aiming for the top

By Kevin Kung

A Hong Kong hurdler who dreams of following in Liu Xiang's Olympic footsteps says if you want to compete with the very best in the world, you must be prepared to set the bar high

By Kevin Kung |

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Anson Cheung has worked on his technique so he can compete with the best.

You can't accuse hurdler Anson Cheung Wang-fung of not aiming for the top. He wants to be as good as Olympic gold medallist Liu Xiang.

The Form Four student from Wah Yan College, Kowloon stands 1.81 metres tall. He won his first gold medal for Hong Kong at last year's National Student Sports Games in Shanghai, clocking an impressive 14.26 seconds in the 110m hurdles final.

"Liu Xiang's comeback in 2011 before the London Olympics got to me," says the 18-year-old. "I used to play more football and I was not paying full attention to hurdling training. But I was amazed and inspired by him, and started to practise seriously."

Liu wasn't the only factor motivating Anson. The hurdles used in the Shanghai race were slightly higher than those used in local competitions. Anson trained for six months with both types of hurdles, and the hard work paid off.

"Winning the gold medal was beyond my expectations," he says. "It shows that my potential goes beyond local races."

There was also something symbolic about Anson's victory.

"I won in Liu's hometown, which made it even more memorable," Anson says.

"He wasn't there but I managed to take a photo with his coach, Sun Haiping. Coach Sun was there to instruct his own students, who I believe I beat in the races."

Anson owes a lot to his own coach, Alexander Chau Chun-ho, as well. "My training started about two years ago. At first I was puzzled. Chau saw my talent but kept correcting [the way I jumped] the hurdles."

Chau worked hard to change Anson's technique, and gradually the results improved. At times it was hard to stay motivated. But Anson was determined to remain focused, like his coach.

"Chau rarely goes on holiday. Whenever I have a competition, he is always there to help me prepare. He was not a team coach, but he still flew to Shanghai to give advice," says Anson.

Now Anson is looking forward to taking part in the Division One Inter-School Athletics Competition at Wan Chai Sports Ground tomorrow. This will be his first competition since transferring to his current school last September.

"I have longed to join the top-tier competition," he says. "At my previous school, basketball was the main sport, and we were competing in Division Three for athletics. The change of environment will push me to run even faster."

Anson will run in both the 110m and 400m hurdles. He will also take part in the 4x100m relay with other sprinters at school. "I hope to win both hurdles events. I am excited and looking forward to the atmosphere. I won't be burdened by my previous results."

Check out the Division One Inter-school Athletics Competition schedule at the Hong Kong School Sports Federation website. Admission is free.