CityU squash team shines at national competition

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(From left) Mr Joe Wong, the team's coach, Max Lee, Lincoln Chan, Matthew Lai, Tang Yat-chun, and Dr Patrick Chan Ping-cheung, Associate Director (Physical Education), Student Development Services.

 

The squash team from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) won the men’s overall championship, as well as the championship and 1st runner-up in the men’s singles in the elite group of the 3rd All China University Squash Competition in China.

The members of the team that won the overall championship were Matthew Lai Cheuk-nam, a Year 3 student from the Department of Chinese and History; Lincoln Chan Wui-ki, a Year 4 student from the Department of Social and Behavioural Sciences; Tang Yat-chun, a Year 3 student from the Department of Materials Science and Engineering; and Max Lee Tsz-long, a student studying in the Postgraduate Certificate in Law programme. Matthew and Lincoln also won the championship and 1st runner-up, respectively, in the men’s singles.

Jointly organised by the Federation of University Sports of China (FUSC), the Shanghai Squash Association and other organisations, the All China University Squash Competition is the top sports event of its kind in China. This year’s competition was held for three days, from 6 to 8 December in Shanghai. Besides CityU, the event attracted the participation of about 100 athletes from 11 higher education institutions, including Peking University, Shanghai University of Sport, and Nanjing Sport Institute.

A member of the Hong Kong Squash Team and a leading player of the CityU team, Matthew performed well in both the individual and group events. His most memorable match was one in which he competed against his teammate, Lincoln, for the championship in the men’s singles.

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Matthew won the championship of the men’s overall and singles.

 

“Lincoln and I have known each other for many years, and our level is very close. There was a minor incident during the match. Perhaps I had moved to the wrong position, and Lincoln’s racket hit the edge of my eye. I received medical treatment on the spot, and the match was delayed for a while. Fortunately, I was able to finish the match,” he recalled.

Matthew has played squash since childhood and is now a full-time player. Because of the rigorous training requirements, he needs to appropriately manage his time between his studies and competitions. He said he is grateful for the University’s support, especially the coordination provided by staff in the Physical Education Section, and the care and assistance offered by his teachers and fellow students.

“As a full-time athlete, I have a tight training schedule. I am very grateful to the Physical Education Section, which coordinates with my academic department to alleviate my study load,” he said. “My fellow students are very good at helping me keep up with my studies when I am late or even absent from class due to training or competitions. I also receive frequent encouragement from my teachers.”

Lincoln took part in the same competition last year. Given his experience, he often served as an advisor during the three-day competition. “As I knew more about the competition, I could give my teammates advice about things that they should take note of. The goal was to achieve an outstanding performance for CityU through mutual help among teammates,” he said.

Mutual help is also the spirit of sports exchange. As CityU was considered a strong team in the championship, its members were invited to do demonstrations and interact with other athletes a day before the competition. Thus, the CityU team made friendships with other teams before the competition started.

Mr Joe Wong Wai-chung, the coach who has led CityU athletes to take part in competitions in various places for many years, noted that the men and women’s squash teams had excellent performance in the past 10 years. One of the reasons for this is that the University is willing to allocate resources for sports development. Athletes are given the opportunity to receive training outside Hong Kong every year. They can go to places with a higher level of squash skills for exchange, such as Japan and South Korea. This certainly helps improve the skills of the CityU squash team members, he said.

 

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