Time on the side of Hong Kong’s Law
Series on Olympic Scholarship Holders Beijing 2008: today Law Hiu-fung.
Law Hiu-fung of Hong Kong has come a long way over the past 10 years, since deciding one day to give rowing a try. Now 25 and on the verge of his second Olympic Games, he is aiming to be Asia’s number one single sculler in Beijing – no mean ambition for someone obliged to compete against heavier rowers because lightweight sculls are not in the Olympic programme.
“Rowing chose me”
Law, from Sha Tin in the New Territories, was 15 when rowing took hold of him. “Rowing chose me,” he says. “I always liked sports where I could express myself individually. A coach from the Hong Kong China Rowing Association came to my school to introduce their talent identification programme. I decided it would be interesting to try it and pretty quickly I really started to enjoy it.”
A First for Hong Kong
The following year, he represented Hong Kong at a junior regatta in Canada, and in 2001 he became Asian Junior single sculls champion. In the 2002 Asian Games he won bronze in lightweight and silver in the open singles, and in 2003 he became the first rower from Hong Kong to win a medal at a world championship, taking bronze at the FISA Under 23s in Belgrade.
“Each race seemed to get better, and once I got to the final there was nothing to lose, I just gave it my best possible effort,” he said later, a philosophy likely to serve him well in Beijing. His experience four years ago in Athens, when he had to raise his weight from 70kg to more than 80kg and finished 18th - the best-ever result for a Hong Kong rower - will also stand him in good stead.
Law lists surfing and fishing among his favourite passtimes, and he is also a talented artist who designs T-shirt logos and birthday cards for his girlfriend, family and friends. He is inspired by Estonia’s Jüri Jaanson, who won a single sculls medal for the first time at his fifth Olympic Games four years ago at the age of 38. By that token, time seems very much on Law’s side.
For the Beijing Olympic Games, Olympic Solidarity has awarded a total of 1,088 scholarships to 166 National Olympic Committees in 21 individual Olympic sports.