Hong Kong U21 Qualified for The Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 for The First Time!
Hong Kong U21 Qualified for The Women’s Junior Asia Cup 2023 for The First Time!03 Jan 2023
“After a fourteen-hour flight and a three-hour stopover in Doha International Airport, we have finally arrived in Kazakhstan and are only four hours away from Taldykorgan where the tournament is held!” The Hong Kong U21 Junior Squad set off earlier this month to compete in the Women’s Junior AHF Cup 2022, held from 12th to 20th October, in Taldykorgan, Kazakhstan. After 6 difficult games, the team has qualified for the Women’s Junior Asia Cup, which will be held in 2023, for the first time in history.
After two years of no competitions, we had a hard time rebuilding the junior team. Many talented players have left Hong Kong to study abroad, making the selection process even more difficult. In the final preparation stage, the team trained day and night (with extra training sessions on public holidays) to prepare for the games. Just when we thought we were finally ready to give it our all, some of our players got injured in the last week as they were not used to the sudden increase in training intensity. It was
frustrating because we did not have much time left, but there were still many uncertainties as to whether we could actually compete or not.
Fortunately, the U21 squad arrived at the destination safely and with the addition of 5 overseas players,
the full team met for the first time in Kazakhstan. But little did the team know, the challenges had only
In a completely foreign country, we struggled to communicate with the locals and get the supplies we needed for the team. The first few days after we arrived, we had trouble sourcing still water because the labels were all in Russian/Kazakh, and we had a hard time adapting to the dry weather.
Despite the unfavorable conditions, our girls fought well and managed to score the opening goal of the tournament against Indonesia in the first game (final score 1-3) and draw Uzbekistan (0-0). In their third game, with 2 goals from Yammi Chui, a penalty corner goal from Caitlin Wang and a field goal from
Hilary Wong, Hong Kong ended the game with a 12-0 win against Tajikistan. Thanks to the consistent performance of our two goalies Xinyao Liu and Yoyo Yip, the Hong Kong U21 Junior Team was able to safely secure their spot in the upcoming Women’s Junior Asia Cup.
Putting the tournament aside, the trip was also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the girls to bond with
local children (we played football together!), experience local cultures and try eccentric local cuisine like horse meat and camel milk.
|Head Coach||Arif Ali|
YAMMI CHUI, CAPTAIN
“Probably my last U21 tournament but happy to make history with such a young and energetic team. A rough tournament but the girls persevered through adversity. A special shoutout to Caitlin, Hilary and Yoyo for a strong international debut! And of course a solid performance from Xinny! More to come!”
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to represent Hong Kong once again since my debut tournament 4 years ago. It was a great experience to see improvement and personal growth in my abilities as well as playing with many new up-and-coming talented juniors.”
“I am so grateful to have participated in such an amazing tournament. As a debuting player, this experience
has been surreal and it has been great getting to know my teammates and improving with everyone. Many thanks to our coaches and the team for helping me grow as a player and making this tournament so memorable!”
“This was a great first international tournament for me as my teammates and I trained hard almost every day before the tournament, and we were able to stay strong and give our 100% in our matches. I am glad
I could have this amazing opportunity to play hockey at an international level and meet players from different countries. Most importantly, I am really happy that Hong Kong is now qualified for the Women’s Junior Asia Cup in 2023!”
“This is the very first time I represented Hong Kong in an international tournament. I still have many things to learn, but I am glad that I have this opportunity to play at this level. Through this experience, I have learned a lot from my fellow keeper Xinny and goalkeepers around Asia, and I was able to test my limits and see what I am capable of. This was a great experience to help me grow personally as a player and as a person. I would also like to take this chance to thank our coaches for guiding us along the way. This team would not be the same without them!”