Exciting events are coming up in the Asian Games, including volleyball, sailing, fencing, and 3×3 basketball. Fencer Valerie Cheng, who had a perfect record in the Singapore Fencing Satellite tournament, is in great form and has high expectations from the public. Although the satellite tournament is a good warm-up opportunity before the Asian Games, Valerie Cheng doesn’t let the results of the satellite tournament affect her mindset and approaches the Asian Games with a calm attitude. Although a “calm mind” may not always overcome pressure, Valerie Cheng believes that learning to coexist with pressure can turn it into motivation. She constantly reminds herself not to be overly fearful and doesn’t specifically reduce stress for herself, which shows that she has strong psychological qualities as an athlete and is also in high spirits for this competition.
For Valerie Cheng, participating in the Asian Games again feels both familiar and new. After several years, she feels that she has made progress in skills, abilities, and mindset compared to her previous participation. As a result, she has higher expectations for herself and hopes to perform steadily.
When asked about the biggest challenge of this competition, Valerie Cheng explained, “The overall level of Asian countries has improved, especially China and Japan. Japan has already entered the top four in the world, so high-level opponents are definitely the main challenge of this competition. As they say, 20% of performance comes from ability, and 80% comes from mindset. In addition to technical training, I also watch video clips of competitions and participate in other international events to keep myself in competition mode.”
Despite facing tough opponents and pressure during the competition, which often contains many unknown factors, Valerie Cheng remains steadfast in her beliefs and maintains the best mindset. She believes that it’s not that she can’t do it, but that she hasn’t done it yet.
On the other hand, many Hong Kong athletes are participating in the 3×3 basketball event at the Asian Games for the first time. Women’s basketball players Chen Yingxin, Kwan Hoi Pui, Ho Pui Ying, and Ng Yan Tung are among them. Although the four-person team has not yet participated in an official game and has less experience in 3×3 basketball, Kwan Hoi Pui shared that dealing with the upcoming intensive game schedule, physical fitness, and the ability to quickly recover are all crucial and challenging factors.
As this is her first time participating in a large-scale and high-level competition, Kwan Hoi Pui inevitably feels nervous but still excited. To prepare better, she never stops her regular basketball team practice and also arranges personal training. Therefore, during this short period of time, the team’s understanding of each other has significantly improved, and their cooperation is smoother.
Because 3×3 basketball has a faster pace than usual, each player’s reaction must be more sensitive, and their abilities must be more comprehensive. Therefore, the roles played by several team members are very similar, and the key practice is to adapt to the fast-paced game mode and cooperate with teammates. Kwan Hoi Pui added, “Since Hong Kong mostly trains in 5×5 basketball, there is little regular time to specialize in 3×3 basketball. Therefore, practicing 3×3 basketball requires additional time from daily routines, resulting in less rest time.” The change in training mode and the tight time schedule are also especially memorable for her during this preparation process.
Facing a large-scale sports event for the first time, Kwan Hoi Pui is most grateful for her family’s strong support even under pressure. Her family encouraged her and said, “We will fully support you. Go ahead and do what you can do.” These words have become a strong encouragement on her basketball player journey. She is grateful for her family’s support, which allows her to play basketball with all her strength without any burden and even represent Hong Kong as an athlete. Facing new challenges in the future, Kwan Hoi Pui is mentally well-prepared: “Believe in yourself!”
The games of these two female athletes will begin in the next few days. Let’s pay attention to the game news together and cheer for Hong Kong athletes!