Be My Guest | Art of extreme control: HK curling team hopes to promote 'chess on ice'
Originated from Scotland in the 16th Century, curling had not been formally added as a medal sport event until the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan. It started to gain more attention from Hong Kong citizens with the prevalence of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. But with few people actually understanding this sport, there is still a long way to go for popularizing it among the general public.
In fact, the sport is much harder than it looks. The complexities of curling are half the reason why it is called "chess on ice", the other half is the strategy involved. It’s a unique sport that requires a lot of concentration and precision, which demands balance, physical strength, teamwork, and a strategic mind. The seemingly gentle and elegant sport is indeed a battle of wits and fitness.
However, it is also a sport for all ages. An eight-year-old child can compete on the ice with an elderly 70, which is a fair sport and suitable for the public to enjoy its fun together.
In this episode of Be My Guest, we invite three young representatives from the Hong Kong Curling Association (HKCuA): Ashura Wong, Member of HK Women's Curling Team, Martin Yan, Member of HK Men's Curling Team, and Jonas Lai, Member of HK Junior boys Curling Team. They have expressed their hope that through their continual efforts, more HK people, regardless of age, gender and physical strength, would be able to experience and enjoy the fascinating sport of curling. The HKCuA has been working with different schools, associations and NGOs to promote the development of curling, and offering Come & Try sessions in an effort to enable more HK citizens to get in touch with the sport before actually understanding and falling in love with it.
Ashura has been part of the HK Curling Team for six years now, and she has experienced others' misconception that curling is just a hobby and that it's just as recreative as taking a vacation. "We are all self-funded, and every penny we earn is invested in the competitions. If I didn't love curling from the bottom of my heart, I wouldn't have made it this far," said Ashura. "I gave up my full-time job to focus on training, hoping that through my efforts, I can break the record of HK's curling team."
What is curling, and how to play it? Can it be popularized among the general public? How did these young curling athletes overcome all kinds of challenges and still persist in promoting the sport? Watch the video now to find out.