Rooting for underdogs!
Kicking off this thread with an article on Hong Kong's Joanna So, 22 (ISU bio: http://www.isuresults.com/bios/isufs00034480.htm) who recently won the bronze medal at the Asian Open Trophy in Beijing:
The 22-year-old admits her ‘shock’ at setting personal bests in back-to-back events, as remarkable comeback from retirement continues.
Announcing her retirement two years ago because of academic stress, So returned to the rink this year to win her second Hong Kong Figure Skating and Short Track Speed Skating Championships title in July, before competing in her first international event at the Nebelhorn Trophy in Germany last month.
“I was kind of shocked to be on the podium at first,” she said. “Everything was so fast – like a dream. I was really happy and so were my family and teammates. [...]
Remarkably, her return to competing was mere happenstance – on a trip to the UK this year, So’s best friend convinced her to bring her gear along for some leisurely outdoor skating. Upon seeing her on the ice, her friend said she “still had it”.
“Then I came back to Hong Kong and started morning training with the Hong Kong team again,” So said. “I realised if I really wanted to do this properly, I needed a new coach to help, so I went to Wuxi [Jiangsu province] where my coach is based and where I train out of now. I really thank my friend with all my heart for helping me re-find my motivation.
Since she mentions Yi Christy Leung in the present tense, hopefully this means Leung will be back in competition in the future (fingers crossed).“The skaters’ average skills have increased a lot, actually,” she said. “You see younger skaters now doing triples. There are two new rinks in Hong Kong, so that’s an increase in training venues.
“The financial support from athletes is also a lot better than what it used to be since skating is a Hong Kong Sports Institute Tier A sport. The support skaters have had has increased despite the ********* and not being able to go out to compete that often.
“I believe [young female skaters] have been and will be able to take the sport to a much higher level than I can. We’ve got Kahlen [Cheung Cheuk-ka] and [Cherrie] Chan Tsz-ching, who has been doing triples since she was really young – much more advanced than what I was doing at that age.
“There’s also Christy Leung Yi who competes at a high level. I really look forward to the Hong Kong skating scene going up and I think we will get good results in the future.”