Elite athletes supported to pursue both sports and academic excellence
The outstanding performances and extraordinary achievements of Hong Kong athletes at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 not only delighted the city, but aroused people’s enthusiasm for playing and following sports, and stimulated discussions and reviews of Hong Kong’s sports policies, in particular support for talented athletes.
Photo: Rippei Kaneda (left) and Nick Chan Siu-yin
In fact, as early as 2017, LU set up Entrance Scholarships for Elite Athletes for local, overseas and Mainland athletes who want to pursue full-time undergraduate studies at the University, an initiative that conforms with LU’s commitment to providing quality whole-person education, and nurturing students to achieve all-round excellence.
Full support and maximum flexibility are offered to scholarship recipients, including the possibility of extending their study periods on a case-by-case basis, opting for alternative curriculum delivery modes such as online classes, and receiving individualised mentoring support, academic advice, career planning, etc.
In 2021/22, three outstanding athletes are admitted through the scheme, they are: rugby player Rippei Kaneda (BBA), karateka Chan Tsz-hin (Social Sciences), and handball player Chan Siu-yin (BBA).
“The scheme provides opportunities for me to develop both my academic career and my rugby career,” says Rippei Kaneda. “I can manage my academic life and my rugby life wisely, which is very important as a student athlete.”
Rippei is enjoying studying and sports at Lingnan, and making the most of a liberal arts education.
Born and raised in Tokyo, Rippei started playing rugby when he was two years old and moved to Hong Kong in 2010. At 13, he was offered a high school rugby scholarship in New Zealand – a nation renowned for the sport – by a “teacher who watched me play online."
“I had amazing experiences and opportunities in New Zealand. However, being a 13-year-old who’s away from family, I had some ups and downs and after a lot of discussions with my family, I decided to come back to Hong Kong,” Rippei recalls.
Now, after a few years in Hong Kong and Japan, Rippei is enjoying studying and sports at Lingnan, and making the most of a liberal arts education.
He appreciates the great exchange opportunities, close teacher and student relationships, the harmonious campus and its surroundings, and hostel life at LU. “I personally believe that hostel life will greatly assist students to become independent, collaborative and respectful.”
But it is the international spirit of LU that he has truly immersed himself in. “There are many students with different backgrounds including exchange students here. I can learn a lot by gaining others’ perspectives,” he says.
Like the 16 other students who have received the scholarship, Rippei is a sports leader and ambassador at LU, demonstrating sportsmanship and teamwork on campus and beyond.
“I strongly believe by receiving Elite Athlete Programme’s support, I can continuously develop to be the best version of myself,” Rippei says.
“Entrance Scholarships for Elite Athletes helped me deal with my financial difficulties, giving me more resources to train and reducing the financial pressure on my parents,” Nick Chan Siu-yin says.
Nick has been playing handball for eight years, and says it requires more teamwork than other mainstream team sports. "It allows me to connect with my friends and brothers. I enjoy training with my teammates, although the training can be very tough… when you see your teammates are trying very hard and don’t give up, you will not give up either."
Nick appreciates the international exposure he has at LU.
Like Rippei, Nick appreciates the international exposure he has at LU. “The reason for me joining Lingnan is because it is the only liberal arts university in Hong Kong, and it brings students a sense of belonging and more opportunities than other universities. Here, I am offered many opportunities to exchange overseas, and these opportunities allow me not only to gain knowledge, but also, more importantly, to play with local athletes,” The BBA Year Two student says.
Although it is not clear if any matches or tournaments will be held in the near future due to the pandemic, Nick is in great spirits, and hopes the Lingnan team will triumph in all games and, especially, make a name for itself in handball in the coming year.
Entrance Scholarships for Elite Athletes are open to both JUPAS and Non-JUPAS applicants, and, by demonstrating an outstanding sports performance record and meeting general entrance requirements to undergraduate programmes, candidates may receive scholarships covering tuition and hostel fees for each academic year. The full scholarship in 2021/22 is HK$52,100.
For more stories on LU elite sportsmen, click here.