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  • Medal For Hong Kong – Charlie Hall

    Medal For Hong Kong – Charlie Hall

    28 Sep 2022

    Highly motivated and dedicated Charlie Hall balances studies and sports to win Bronze for Hong Kong at the 2022 Asia Junior and U23 Triathlon Championships in Kazakhstan. With a speedy time of 1:05:19 for Sprint distance triathlon, she claimed 3rd position on the podium in the junior elite women’s category. Sprint triathlon consists of a 750m swim, 20k bike and a 5k run. It’s a punchy and extremely high-intensity sport.

    She trains 3 times a day with a day off every 3 or 4 weeks and has been in the HKFC Trikid programme. She shared with us her experience and the hard miles to success.

    What is your favourite food?
     I love food in general, so it’s tough to pick a favourite, but I think probably brownies would have to top the list.

    Why did you first choose triathlon as a sport? Did you also have an interest in other sports?
    A lot of my childhood was spent following my dad around to various triathlon races as support crew, so I was always surrounded by the sport and wanted to try it out. I did my first Splash and Dash in Repulse Bay when I was9 and absolutely loved it, and I haven’t looked back since.

    Aside from triathlon, I love running and always try to do any running races or track events that I can, although I don’t get as much time for them as I’d like. I love watching and following a whole mixture of different sports - my favourites are cycling, athletics and F1.

    If you could achieve anything you wished for in your sport, what would it be?
    I’d love to race at the Olympics one day.

    What are the biggest physical or mental challenges in Triathlon?
    I think the biggest challenge in triathlon is a combination of physical and mental aspects. In a race, you must push your body right to its limit and then have the mental toughness to keep going when it hurts. There’s a similar challenge in training, especially in hard sessions, but one of the biggest challenges is just staying motivated. Triathlon training is extreme - we usually do around 3training sessions a day, and generally only get one day off every 3 to 4 weeks, so it can be hard at times to find the motivation to keep going. The last thing anyone wants to do at 6am is jump into a cold pool!

    Who is your sporting idol?
    There are a lot of athletes from various sports that I look up to, but I think my biggest idols are probably Jan Frodeno and Katie Zaferes. I think they’re really inspiring as triathletes but also just good role models in general.

    How do you balance studies and sports?
    It’s tough, but between my school, HKSI and my parents, I’ve had so much support which has made it a lot easier. I was lucky enough to be able to join the World Academy of Sport Programme which has allowed me to do my IB over4 years instead of 2, so I only have half the workload at a time. It was a big decision to take on the extra 2 years of high school and it can be frustrating at times, but it means that I can pursue both my studies and my sport without having to sacrifice either, which I’m grateful for.

    What’s your favourite shoe brand? And what’s your preferred swim gear?
    I’ve been running in Saucony shoes for the last few years, and I really like them. The Freedom 4s are great all-round training shoes and I love their Endorphin Pro model for racing. For swimming, I use Speedo Speed socket goggles.

    What’s your pre-workout and post-workout nutrition?

    Generally, pre-workout is simple – my go-to is usually just some cereal or toast, something easy to digest with plenty of carbs. For post-workout, I generally just eat whatever I feel like if it’s got plenty of protein and carbs to help with recovery and feeling for the next session. Scrambled eggs on toast with a smoothie is a go-to!

    What advice would you give to young athletes who want to reach your level of sporting achievement?
    I think the main thing is to make sure that you enjoy it. Elite sport is very demanding, so having a passion for what you do really helps make it easier to push through hard times and stay motivated. I would also say that it’s important not to take anything too seriously too early. If you work hard and stay consistent with your training, you will improve over time, so don’t worry if you’re not a superstar right from the start. Progress can be slow sometimes, but hard work will always pay off eventually!

    How and when do we know what our child’s skill set is? How do we motivate and inspire our children? This is a question on every parent’s mind. While no two children are same, and each child is special in her/his own way, Richard and Elaine Hall shared their perspective.

    What do parents have to do (or not do) to ensure kids are getting the most from sport?
    Let them try as many different sports as they wish and encourage them to do their best without pressurising them. Kids have a great ability to find the thing they love and if they are passionate about their sport (or music, drama, computing etc.), they will do what it takes to succeed, in whatever form success means to them. There is a lot of support in Hong Kong from schools, coaches, HK Sports Institute etc. for athletes. However, for a junior to pursue an elite pathway unless they really can’t imagine their life without the sport would be tough, given the sacrifices are huge.

    Family fun, together with mum and sister, Elaine and Sophie, respectively

    When did you know that Charlie was a strong athlete?
    Charlie was keen on sports as a kid, but didn’t show any special physical talent when she was young, never used to win or medal in her age group. She was always very driven and mentally strong, so when she decided to pursue triathlon ahead of her dancing, committed to being in the pool for 90 minutes before school most days, and cycling or running most evenings, whilst juggling school, travel and friends, we knew she’d be dedicated.

    After finishing Hard as Nayls with dad, Richard, and Sophie