Hong Kong athletes made history with their perseverance and strength by obtaining remarkable achievements at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games! To pass on this spirit to the younger generation, A.S. Watson Group Hong Kong Student Sports Awards (HKSSA) invited Sarah Lee Wai-sze, two-time Olympic Bronze medalist, to interact with the award winners. By sharing her journey of perseverance in realising her dreams, she encouraged the students with the slogan: “YOU ARE STAR”. The event ignited a flame in the hearts of the younger generation by upholding the spirit of “YES I CAN” to nurture and inspire the next generation of local sports stars.
Established in 2005, HKSSA is the first and only sports award to recognise student athletes from all primary, secondary and special schools across Hong Kong. Each school can recommend one elite sports talent for the award every year. Over the years, numerous athletes have been awarded including several decorated Hong Kong athletes.
“HKSSA is committed to promoting sports culture in schools that unlocks the potential of a new generation of athletes and to support their sports development,” Ms Malina Ngai, JP, CEO of A.S. Watson (Asia & Europe) and Honorary Advisor of HKSSA Advisory Committee said.
“The students are very excited to see Sarah and to get to know the dedication and hard work she puts into her success. She hopes that the younger generation will continue to pursue their dreams and their parents will encourage and support their children to participate in sports. As a former track and field and rowing athlete myself, I hope that the awards will nurture more outstanding athletes who will continue to win glory for Hong Kong.”
Valuable Experience Sharing by Sarah
During the meet and greet, two-time Olympic bronze medalist Sarah Lee Wai-sze shared her experience and said, “It takes years of dedication and hard work to succeed. I’ve been cycling for 18 years, even when I got injured, I never gave up. When I truly enjoy what I’m doing, I never feel tired.
She encouraged the younger generation, “Whether you are an athlete or a student, as long as you put your mind to it, your hard work will pay off.”
The event attracted hundreds of HKSSA winners. Sarah shared her daily training routine, tips on winning competitions and how she deals with her injuries. Digital interactive elements were also added to the event, including a virtual reality cycling game so that participating students can compete with Sarah and get a taste of what it means to compete with world-class Olympic athletes.
Para-athlete Sends Best Wishes to Sarah
“Inclusivity” is an important element of the HKSSA since its establishment. In addition to mainstream students, HKSSA also awards students with physical disabilities, visual impairments and intellectual disabilities from special schools. In fact, more than 700 students from special schools have been commended over the years.
To send the best wishes to Sarah, Cherie Yeung Siu-fong, a previous winner of the HKSSA who participated in the Asian Para Games, represented the awardees to present a painting to Sarah which she had personally painted with her feet called Blossoms In Snow (寒梅傲雪), symbolising persistence and hope.
In a bid to encourage and recognise the achievements of student athletes, HKSSA will arrange professional photographers to take YOU ARE STAR studio shots. As the star representative of the Hong Kong team, Sarah took the lead in participating in the photo shooting, passing the torch to the next generation, and encouraging student athletes to keep pursuing their dreams.
HKSSA has gained overwhelming support from local schools over the past 16 years. This year, over 80% of schools participated in the programme representing a total of 883 student awards. This brings the total number of student awardees to over 13,000 since its launch. HKSSA organises different activities every year to encourage the awardees to pursue their dreams. During the annual award presentation ceremony, elite athletes are invited to share their journeys to success with the hopes of motivating students to work hard to achieve their dreams.