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Sport Heroes
Judo¡ELEUNG Yiu-tong
Photo Coach LEUNG Yiu-tong

Coach LEUNG Yiu-tong was teaching a judo class on the day we interviewed him. A ten year old student shyly walked up to him and bowed. ¡§He¡¦s late, therefore he is bowing in apology,¡¨ said Coach LEUNG. Coach LEUNG is the Head Coach of the Tseung Kwan O Judo Club, and a fourth-dan black belt. He is deeply fascinated by martial arts but particularly loves judo since it has strong focus on courtesy and discipline and cultivates one¡¦s character while one receives physical training.

Photo Coach LEUNG and his students

Coach LEUNG first came across judo when he heard about a judo class in Junior Police Call during secondary school. At that time, his classmates tended to play ball games in their spare time; Coach LEUNG however, wanted to try something special. He chose to take judo classes since he was interested in martial arts. ¡§There is no sure-win waza in judo. Every single move of attack can be defused; you¡¦ve got to plan your tactics in order to beat an opponent. It¡¦s very similar to playing chess because you have to stay flexible and focused on the next move from your opponent, and that¡¦s also the fun part of judo,¡¨ said Coach LEUNG. In the blink of an eye, Coach LEUNG has been practicing judo for 20 years now. At the beginning he treated judo like an out of class activity for his spare time, and now he is an experienced athlete and coach.

Representing Hong Kong ¡@¡@¡@Gaining invaluable experiences

Through his hard work and substantial practice, Coach LEUNG represented Hong Kong for the first time in 1996 to participate in the Inter-City Judo Championships (Canton, Macau, Hong Kong). He had a mesmerizing match against a tough opponent. Coach LEUNG was at a disadvantage throughout the entire match, but he still managed to get a few points. Though ultimately defeated, Coach LEUNG thought he had done quite well in his first appearance in an international event, and had above all gained invaluable experiences of real matches. After that, Coach LEUNG has often participated in friendly matches in various countries (e.g. Japan) to hone his skills and augment his experience.

Coach LEUNG has participated in judo competitions of major and minor scales. He believed that athletes must have good mentality and perseverance, especially when they are up against stronger and more skilled opponents because that is when they should try their best to win and to give their best performance. Coach LEUNG said, ¡§My master always told me not to focus too much on the results, and said that it was more important to enjoy the game. His words impressed me deeply.¡¨ The master he was referring to is YEUNG Luen-lien. Coach LEUNG said that Master YEUNG has also had much influence on his decision to become a coach.

Deeply influenced by his master ¡@¡@¡@Coach LEUNG hopes to pass on the torch
Coach LEUNG has been teaching judo for over ten years. As mentioned, he followed Master YEUNG¡¦s footsteps as a coach and has been deeply influenced by his master¡¦s beliefs and attitudes towards coaching. ¡§My master wanted judo to be a healthy way for teenagers to vent their energy and frustrations. He wanted to promote the art of judo to the public and perhaps foster the next generation of judo athletes. But what he can do by himself is limited, so I wanted to carry on with my master¡¦s ideals. As a coach, I can teach more students,¡¨ explained Coach LEUNG.
Photo Coach LEUNG teaching

Coach LEUNG believes that the aid the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) provided is essential to the success of judo promotion in the communities. The LCSD has provided subvention and venues for training, so that students only have to pay an affordable fee to receive training; the Department has also helped to promote judo classes by posting posters in LCSD venues. All of these has helped to get judo¡¦s information and motivate citizens to participate in judo.

Being a referee¡@¡@¡@Strive for fair matches
In addition to being a coach, Coach LEUNG is also a professional referee. He was the referee for judo matches in the 2009 East Asian Games and the 2nd Pacific Rim Junior Judo Championships. Coach LEUNG said being a referee has been fruitful to his teaching since he can stay tuned with the changes in rules and regulations. He also believed good referees must treat each athlete fairly. They also need to have keen observation and be able to focus on whether or not athletes have committed fouls. And last but not least, a good referee must have the ability to judge under pressure. Coach LEUNG believed he is capable of the above but still has room to improve, for instance, in the rhythm control of matches. Good rhythm control, explained Coach LEUNG, will motivate the athletes and make the matches spectacular.
Photo Coach LEUNG as referee of a judo match in the 2009 East Asian Games
Photo Coach LEUNG (back row, third from left) as referee of Macau International Youth and Junior Judo Tournament 2010
Being a trinity of athlete, coach and referee, Coach LEUNG is an ¡¥activist¡¦ in the field of judo. He has made solid contributions to judo promotion. While he is quite satisfied with the progress of local judo, he still wants to get more involved. When asked about his expectations for his students, he said he had a few. Apart from pursuing results, Coach LEUNG also wanted all of his students to become cultivated and persevering athletes.
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