Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Passionate Olympian

As the sole Hong Kong athlete at Sochi, Barton Lui Pan-to waves the flag
The Sochi Winter Olympics are well underway and Hong Kong's only athlete competing in the international event has made his appearance and exit in a flash.

Barton Lui Pan-to was the first male athlete to represent Hong Kong in the men's 1500m short track and didn't make it past the second heat, coming in fifth out of six with a time of 2 minutes 22.139 seconds.

However for the 20 year old it was not his time that was important, but the whole Olympic experience.

"This is the first time I came here, to the Winter Olympics, representing my hometown Hong Kong," he said. "I am so touched and so excited to be competing in front of thousands of people in the crowd, and my friends sitting in front of the TV. It is the first time for me to feel so many people on my back.

Lui (221) races against his idol Victor An in the second heat
"They did not really care what my results is or whether I am going to get a gold medal because I am here already. I thank my family and friends and everyone who cares about me and who loves me."

Spoken like an Olympian.

When asked to go over the race, Lui was thrilled to be racing in the same heat as his idol Victor An [originally South Korean but competed for Russia], but found the whole thing overwhelming.

"At the moment the referee started the race I am blank, so happy -- I have never experienced that before," said Lui. "It is a unique feeling. I will treasure this moment and remember it for the rest of my life, and share it with my friends and hopefully my kids."

Lui started skating when he was 10 years old at Cityplaza in Taikoo Shing and watched the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver when he was studying and training in the host city.

That inspired his Olympic ambition and since then his parents have mostly financed his training in China with a provincial team in Harbin and in South Korea. His proud parents were in the stands cheering him on last night.

"I have been travelling everywhere non-stop because I love short track, nothing else," he said.

"The Winter Olympics is not something that everyone can go to. For four years, every athlete in every country and every skater is fighting for this and surviving all those races and training just to be here," explained Lui.

He has perfectly captured the essence of what it is like to be an athlete chasing the Olympic dream, living the moment and then remembering it forever.

Hopefully he will inspire other Hong Kong kids to follow their dreams -- athletic or not -- but also realize that it takes hard work, determination, discipline and most importantly passion to succeed in anything.

In any event he's already decided he's going to train hard for the 2018 Winter Games. Watch out for Lui!


  1. Aww bless him! What a lovely sportsman :)

    1. Hi littlekoo Great to hear from you again. Hope to see him again in 2018!