Sports skaters on a roll (24.4.2016)

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Xuất bản 17/12/2016
People often try some form of skating when they are young, but rarely do they go on to make the sport their life. Hong Kong Skating Team athletes Anson Chan, Katherine Choi and Racheal Fan are some of the few who have turned their childhood obsession with skating into a sporting career. Their dream now is to use their skating prowess to bring sporting glory to Hong Kong. Winding road Roller sports skating requires good balance, strength and judgement. The different categories of the sport cover a host of different disciplines, including speed, artistry, and agility. "Using inline skates is exciting. I can breeze through the air. It is totally different to running," says Anson Chan, a locally-trained inline skater. He started skating at eight-years-old and specialises in the Speed Slalom category. "The official world record is about 4.2 seconds. My record is close to 4.2 seconds. As the difference is so small, a gap of 0.01 of a second could be costly." Hong Kong Freestyle Skating Team Coach Choy Ka-chai said the Speed Slalom event not only requires speed, but also accuracy. "Competitors pass through 20 cones, spaced at 80cm intervals, on one skate. The participant who finishes in the shortest time wins. A penalty of 0.2 of a second is added to the skater's time for each cone struck or omitted." At only 16, Chan has already won several medals and titles. He won the Paris Slalom World Cup last year, and was respectively first runner-up, second runner-up and third runner-up in the World Freestyle Skating Championships for the past three years. In 2013 he won the Hong Kong Junior Sports Stars Award from the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China. "The most memorable event was the 2013 World Freestyle Skating Championships. In 2012 in the same event I was last. The next year I didn't have a high expectation of the result but I performed very well. I was finally first runner-up. I was happy because I won a prominent prize after continuous effort." Diverse discipline Roller sports include speed skating, artistic skating, freestyle skating, roller hockey, and roller soccer. Hong Kong Roller Artistic Skating Team Coach Wat Suk-hing said few athletes participate in artistic skating due to its difficulty. "Participants must perform some specific movements in artistic skating, such as jumping and landing. It is easy to lose balance and fall to the ground, so some people quickly abandon the sport when they still fail to do the manoeuvres required after several training sessions." Only six artistic skaters currently represent Hong Kong. Katherine Choi and Racheal Fan are two of them. Twenty-six-year-old Katherine Choi started skating 20 years ago with her father motivating her all the way. "Roller sports are a lot of fun. At first I thought I could wear beautiful costumes and make-up during a competition. Having grown up, I now want to challenge myself by performing difficult movements." Choi's two-decade devotion to the sport has seen her win first runner-up accolades at the China National Roller Figure Skating Championships in 2014 and 2015. In 2012 she was second runner-up at the Asian Roller Skating Championships. One experience while competing in a local competition is particularly memorable to her. "Three weeks before the event I fractured my leg during training. I was worried. Luckily I met a doctor who taught me how to strap my leg well, so I had no psychological burden during the competition. I figured my leg was hurt anyway so I had nothing to lose. I tried my best and finally won." Dedicated development The skaters say their dedication and tenacity not only gets them results in competitions, but also promotes their sport and helps it to grow. Racheal Fan, 22, said skating gives her a great sense of success. "I can say that not many people participate in artistic skating in Hong Kong. I am grateful to be one of them. This is why I keep doing it." Fan's most memorable moment was at the 2008 Asian Roller Skating Championships where she won a medal for Hong Kong. "I won third place and was very happy the Hong Kong flag was hanging on the podium because of me." Fan said she also hopes to score a good result at the coming Asian Roller Skating Championships. Her colleague Chan said he hopes to win more medals for Hong Kong in national and international tournaments to promote roller skating and help it grow. "If I perform well in international contests, more people will recognise this sport and take part. For the sake of its development, I will keep this up." (http://j.mp/1VtgNKh)
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