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Check out Humans of Hong Kong, our newest video series focused on telling Hong Kong stories!
Team Hong Kong gloriously walks away from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with six medals—one gold, two silver, and three bronze. The sportsmanship of Hong Kong athletes continues to surprise and bring immense pride to the people of Hong Kong, uniting the Hong Kong people and serving as beacons of hope. While you might know the medal-winning Olympians like windsurfer Lee Lai-shan—Hong Kong’s first Olympic gold medallist—and two-time bronze medal-winning cyclist Lee Wai-sze, here are nine more famous and influential Hong Kong athletes to learn about. You are guaranteed to feel a great sense of pride and hope after reading up on them—we sure did!
Once a world-ranked rock-climbing champion, Lai Chi-wai had the whole world at his feet. However, following a devastating traffic accident in 2011, the athlete—who was formerly known as “Spiderman”—tragically lost the use of his legs and has been in a wheelchair ever since. That hasn’t stopped him from scaling new heights, though.
In 2016, Lai achieved his long-time goal of climbing up Lion Rock in his wheelchair—a mind-boggling feat that saw Hongkongers across the city uphold him as a true icon. Lai continues to inspire us to this day, both as a motivational speaker at conferences and events and as a climber. Most recently, Lai attempted to scale the 300-metre-tall Nina Tower in Tsuen Wan, but was forced to call it off after climbing 250 metres due to strong winds.
She’s got it in the pocket! Snooker champion Ng On-yee once held the number one position in the World Women’s Snooker world ranking list, making history as the first Asian woman to ever do so. Her incredible aim and strategy on the table have been recognised on the regional and world stage. Competing with the best in the game, she remains unfazed, with a reputation for accuracy and snooker prowess that has led fans to dub her “Hong Kong’s cue queen.”
Most recently, Ng was given a spot on the World Snooker Tour and was set to make her professional debut with a match against her idol, Ronnie “The Rocket” O’ Sullivan in the 2021 Championship League. While Ng declined to attend the championships due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the UK, we have a feeling she’ll get her chance to go head-to-head with O’Sullivan one of these days.
Despite being born into a family of boxers, Rex Tso started, by his own admission, as a weak opponent who relied on strategy rather than strength in matches. Over the years, he conquered his underdog status and eventually became one of the top-ranked super flyweight boxers in the world. During his pro career, which ended in 2018, Tso remained undefeated, with a winning streak of 22 matches—13 of which were won by knockout. His prowess in the ring earned him the nickname “The Wonder Kid,” as well as an ad campaign with sports megabrand Nike. While Tso, who now competes as an amateur boxer, didn’t qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the athlete says he hasn’t given up on his dream of representing Hong Kong on the world stage and has set his sights on Paris 2024.
29-year-old Stephanie Au Hoi-shun is killing it across the board—in the pool and on social media. With a legion of followers on Instagram, she shares her life as a Hong Kong Olympic-qualifying athlete and as a fashion maven. When she’s not in the pool training—or representing Hong Kong in Tokyo—she’s taking up yoga classes, pole dancing classes, or posing up a storm in high-fashion photoshoots. You know, just the normal things 20-somethings get into. One thing is for sure—we’re hopeful to see her return to the world stage at the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Yapp Hung-fei is Hong Kong’s most capped football player. For those who are unfamiliar with football terms, to be “capped” is to appear for their national team in international games. In 2009, he and his team won the gold medal match against Japan in the East Asian Games. Yapp currently plays for the Eastern Long Lions—one of Hong Kong’s many football clubs—who reigned as champions in the 2020–21 Sapling Cup and the 2019–20 Hong Kong FA Cup. This guy’s a real legend on the field!
Christy Yiu will go the distance! From the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro to the 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships, the Hong Kong long-distance runner has been competing against the world’s best. With a plethora of running opportunities granted by Hong Kong’s elaborate and safe system of trails, Yiu was able to get her practice in by joining marathons—with stunning views of Hong Kong’s natural and urban landscape, of course. If it weren’t for the postponement of the Hong Kong Marathon, Yiu would have had a shot to use her time to qualify for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. No worries, Paris 2024 awaits and we’re sure she’ll bring home the bacon then!
In the recent Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Shek Wai-hung was able to land a spot in the finals of the men’s vault. Before qualifying for his second Olympics, he was already bringing gold for Hong Kong in international events. To date, he has collected four gold medals from his participation in the Asian Games, Asian Gymnastics Championships, and Pacific Rim Championships. If you rewatch videos of his performance, you can really see how flawlessly he balances strength and sophistication.
Record-setting high jumper, role model, and fashion model—Cecilia Yeung Man-wai wears a lot of hats. With over 100,000 Instagram followers and a silver medal from the Asian Championships to her name, Yeung has become positively influential to Hong Kong’s youth. Apart from landing big name brand deals, like a massive Nike campaign that saw her image plastered on a 32-storey building, Yeung also uses her social media reach to inspire others. In June, Yeung gave a Ted Talk about how to find “the best in the worst,” using a potentially career-ending injury and the coronavirus pandemic as motivation to improve her skills both on and off the field.
Grace Lau Mo-sheung is the karateka—karate practitioner to the layman—who won Hong Kong its first-ever Olympic medal for martial arts, and the fifth Olympic medal overall at this year’s Games. This is not the first time she has wowed the world with her swift moves—since starting her professional career as an athlete in 2015, Lau has been collecting medals almost back-to-back in the international competitions she has participated in. The Hong Kong karateka shines in every competition and on every mat she sets foot on—most recently, as she raised the Hong Kong flag in the Tokyo 2020 closing ceremony.