Chan Ka Ho
Holder of 9 Hong Kong Middle-Long Distance Records, Long Distance Running Coach
"You can help your friends if you catch them before they go astray. Even a kid, who misbehaved and performed poorly in school can go to university!"
I grew up in a public housing estate. I was a really active kid and I loved to go out to play. From time to time, I would return home and find myself in trouble with my parents, and they would spank me with a rattan cane. I wasn't really interested in school and I was assigned to a Band 5 secondary school. At the time, many of my classmates and buddies were troubled teenagers - some joined the triads, some smoked, some stole and cheated.
At the time that they were going astray, I fell in love with sports, and joined the Tai Po District Football Team and Track & Field Sports Association. If I wasn't practicing football, I was practicing running, so I gradually grew apart from my friends. It was sports that put me on the right path.
The friends I met through sports were all really good influences. Even if I didn't do well in school, they'd encourage me to study and tell me that nothing is impossible, that as long as I persevered, my hard work would be rewarded. I was motivated to go back to school again. Step by step, from getting my diploma to my higher diploma, I eventually got my degree in physical education.
Later, I saw that some of my childhood friends had been arrested, some of them were deep into drugs, and some of them had to resort to borrowing money from others. One time, a friend went to my home to look for me. I was out at the time and he told my parents, "I used to have so much fun together with Ka Ho!" I felt so sad when my parents told me.
Playing sports has taught me how to think positively and manage stress. Any mental stress I've faced is about the criticism I've received online. Faced with such brutal comments, I've reflected on what I've done well, what I haven't done so well, and consider different opinions. Nothing is just one thing, there are always many perspectives to see something.
As an athlete, I've also experienced the frustration of being injured and unable to run. When it comes to injuries, the way to deal with injuries is not self-pity, but to find alternative ways to maintain your physical fitness. If you can't run because of knee pain, you can swim or cycle, to work on strengthening yourself in other areas, so that you'll have a solid foundation to recover from.
I'm grateful to sports for changing my life. I am currently working as an ambassador for the Inspiring HK Sports Foundation and I also coach boys from juvenile home on long-distance running. I want to use sports to help grassroots and disadvantaged young people to improve and rewrite the stories of their lives. It makes me happy to meet young people who love running and sports.