Interviewing with Athletics Ching Siu Nga and Chan Pui Kei

The Hangzhou Asian Games are currently underway, and the excellent performances of Hong Kong athletes have generated a lot of excitement. Let’s continue to cheer for the athletes who are preparing to compete! The athletics events will begin on September 29th, with racewalking as the first event, followed by short sprints, relays, and other events that require teamwork and explosive power. Ching Siu Nga, a female racewalker participating in the Asian Games for the third time, shared before the competition that she is well-prepared and confident in herself. She hopes to achieve a top-eight finish, break her previous record, and achieve a seasonal best.

To achieve a breakthrough, one cannot give up on new attempts and must accumulate experience from various competitions. Siu Nga recalled that in April of this year, she participated in the 35-kilometer group race at the 107th Japan Track and Field Athlete Rights Convention held in Ishikawa Noto. At that time, the wind was strong during the competition, and the difficulty of the race increased accordingly due to the weather.

“The most challenging part was 35 kilometers, which involved 35 laps and was very long. After completing 20 kilometers smoothly, when I reached 27 kilometers, time suddenly became so long that I started to doubt my life choices and why I participated.” In the final section of the race, she suddenly noticed the clock on the field and reminded herself to maintain a pace of 5 minutes per kilometer. She immediately rallied and decided to “compete with time,” deducting 5 minutes from her time every time she passed the clock on the field. She eventually won third place with a time of 2 hours, 59 minutes, and 32 seconds, breaking the Hong Kong record.”

It is surprising that even athletes have moments of self-doubt, but Siu Nga’s ability to persist despite her doubts is probably what enables her to achieve outstanding results repeatedly.

She added that training for 35 kilometers requires hard physical and mental training. Her recent challenge of a 150-kilometer race walking training in Australia requires even higher physical energy consumption and has made her feel quite tired at times. Corresponding treatment is also required to help her recover physically. “Eating better, eating healthier, and getting more sleep…”

I believe that the pandemic that began a few years ago posed a new challenge for different athletes and made some of them feel powerless. Siu Nga recalls that during the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, due to pandemic measures, there were restrictions on the number of athletes on each team. Siu Nga’s team had only one coach and one team leader, and they had been living, training, and adapting to the local environment in Japan for 10 months before the competition. “When I was alone in Sapporo, I suddenly heard a woman from Hong Kong speaking Cantonese and saying, ‘Hong Kong, come on! Jessica, come on!’ For me, it had been a long time since I had heard such an encouraging and warm message of support that made me feel a sense of belonging.” Encouragement from fellow Hong Kongers was rare and valuable when she was far from home. While missing Hong Kong, a simple word of encouragement gave her the most heartwarming support, reminding her that she had friends and family silently supporting her back in Hong Kong. When facing difficulties, she often shares with others that “pain is only temporary, but the results obtained are forever.”

If racewalking can make people feel the perfect mental quality and endurance of athletes, then the athletics relay event can make people feel “speed and passion.” Hong Kong athlete Chan Pui Kei, who will be participating in the women’s 4x100m relay event, is also looking forward to the competition. Due to injuries in recent relay races, she has not been able to perform at her best. But after taking some time off to recover and adjust her condition, she is excited to compete at her best in this upcoming competition. “I finally recovered in the past month, and my condition has recently improved. I am looking forward to competing with an even better state of mind.”

Chloe always has high expectations and demands of herself, and this has remained consistent from her days as an athletics competitor to the present. This unwillingness to settle has become a continuous source of motivation for her as an athlete, and she hopes to continue striving towards her goals. “In my recent competition, the World University Games in August, it was my first competition after recovering from an injury. Although I didn’t compete at my best, I still achieved a good personal result. I learned and grew from my injuries this year, and I will have more confidence in future competitions. Seeing so many strong competitors in the world games has strengthened my belief in improving myself, and I hope to make it to the finals in the next competition!”

When intensive and repetitive training doesn’t seem to have a significant effect, or when she works hard but is still dissatisfied with her performance, she sometimes questions her ability. However, the reminder from those around her to “believe in yourself” is a good reminder for her.

“Because training for a long time can easily make you lose your way, especially in important competitions where you may be afraid of not performing well. But in fact, you have already worked hard before the competition. During the competition, you just need to believe in what you have worked hard for and then do your best with a relaxed mindset.” Facing pressure, neck-to-neck competition, and the greatest enemy – “yourself,” she firmly believes that “no pain, no gain” and “to wear the crown, bear the weight.”

Photo & Data Source: From interviewee

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