‘Only through enduring hardships can one achieve more,’ This is the motto of Angela Wong, a fourth-year student in the Department of Computer and Information Science and a member of Henry Fok Pearl Jubilee College at the University of Macau (UM). Angela has practised martial arts every day since the age of eight, and after years of training, her dedication paid off. At the 31st FISU World University Games, Wong defeated the world’s strongest competitors in Nanquan (Southern Fist), winning Macao’s only gold medal at the games and returning home in triumph.
The gold medal that makes Macao proud
The 31st FISU World University Games was postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but finally took place this year, drawing top athletes from countries and regions around the globe. Undeterred by the intense competition, Wong remained focused and gave her all. Her exceptional performance in the Nanquan event, which features both agility and strength, earned resounding acclaim from the judges. She surpassed her rivals with near-perfect scores and won the championship, bringing honour to Macao.
Wong’s victory is more than just a personal accomplishment; it is also an inspiration for other young Macao athletes. Ao Ieong U, secretary for social affairs and culture of the Macao SAR government, congratulated Wong and praised Macao athletes for their unwavering dedication and perseverance. UM Rector Yonghua Song, who travelled to Chengdu in a show of support for the Macao team, witnessed Wong’s stellar performance first hand. He expressed immense pride and excitement and also encouraged other students to pursue their athletic ambition.
Prior to her triumph in the women’s Nanquan event, Wong had already secured a bronze medal in the Nandao (Southern Broadsword) event. She expressed her gratitude for the opportunity to compete in the World University Games in Chengdu, Sichuan. ‘In the past few years, many major sporting events have been postponed or cancelled due to the pandemic. I really miss the thrill of competing against the world’s best athletes,’ she says. ‘When I first heard about my win, I couldn’t believe it and my mind just went blank. It wasn’t until I was up there on the podium that it really hit me—I won the gold medal.’
Living the university life to the fullest
While devoting herself to martial arts training, Wong also manages to maintain a balance with her academic pursuits. In 2019, she was admitted to UM’s Department of Computer and Information Science and was awarded the Golden Lotus Scholarship in recognition of her outstanding performance in the admission exam. Now in the fourth year of undergraduate study, Wong embraces the belief that the pursuit of knowledge and martial arts training can go hand in hand and complement each other.
‘The academic study at UM helps me refine my logical thinking, which is also useful in martial arts training,’ Wong says. ‘Whether it is programming or martial arts, there are always multiple paths to get to the top. Everyone’s body is different, so it is important to adapt and find the martial arts style that fits you best.’ She uses her study of aerial moves as an example and explains how she fine-tunes her movements by leveraging biomechanics and strengthens her core muscles based on her physical condition. Over time, her consistent effort has granted her enhanced control over her body, making her martial arts moves more precise.
In her spare time, Wong enjoys UM’s vibrant campus life. As a member of Henry Fok Pearl Jubilee College, she actively engages in activities with students who share similar interests. She is also a member of the Cocktail and Coffee Learning Society of the UM Students’ Union, where she spends her free time exploring mixology and coffee. ‘I have met a lot of interesting people and gained many different experiences through the activities organised by the residential college and student associations. Those activities help me to relax. Proper rest, both physically and mentally, is crucial to maintaining peak athletic performance,’ she says.
Growing up with martial arts training
Wong’s prowess in both fists and swords is extraordinary. Indeed, this level of martial arts mastery does not come easy—it is the result of years of extensive practice and unwavering commitment. She recalls how, as an energetic child, she was captivated by a martial arts performance at her school’s Chinese New Year celebration. She was so impressed by the somersaults and flashing blades that she asked her mother to take her to a martial arts school.
Since her second year of primary school, Wong has received intensive martial arts training every day after school and even on weekends. She often had to deal with injuries while juggling her schoolwork. For Wong, the hardest time was when most of her classmates only had to focus on their studies and prepare for university entrance exams, while she had to take care of her martial arts training at the same time. Whenever she struggled to keep up, Wong’s mother’s words, ‘only through enduring hardships can one achieve more’, echoed in her mind and served as a constant source of motivation.
‘Thanks to my passion for martial arts, I remain true to my original aspiration. I am glad that I managed to survive those challenging times to become who I am today,’ Wong says. She is also grateful to her parents for their encouragement and support, as well as to the Wushu General Association of Macau, especially her coach, Iao Chon In, for accompanying her all the way and helping her overcome obstacles in competitions.
Wong has excelled in numerous martial arts competitions. In 2016, she won two gold medals in Nanquan and Nangun (Southern Staff), as well as a silver medal in Nandao at the 6th World Junior Wushu Championships in Bulgaria. In 2020, she claimed three gold medals in Nanquan, Nangun, and Nandao at the Macao Junior Wushu Championships.
Opportunities only come to those who are prepared
Before the World University Games, Wong felt a bit under the weather but managed to adjust her condition in time. Despite her nervousness, she threw herself into the competition and eventually scored 9.643 points, beating the Uzbek athlete by 0.01 points to win the gold medal. ‘This gold medal really gives me a boost and encourages me to continue my martial arts journey. I look forward to representing Macao in bigger competitions in the future,’ she says.
Wong, who is in the final year of her undergraduate study, plans to pursue a master’s degree and hopes to gain more experience at upcoming competitions. ‘An athlete’s career is short. I want to give it my best shot and see how far I can go,’ she says. She also encourages young athletes to persevere with their studies and training, as opportunities only come to those who are prepared.
Source: My UM ISSUE 126