The flames for the 2016 Rio Olympics have been lit. Over the coming days many of us will be cheering for athletes representing the respective countries we live in and our personal favourite sports stars. While doing so do keep an eye out also for following three Teochew-born competitors donning the Chinese colours:
Lim Iak 林躍 (Mandarin: Lin Yue): diving - men’s synchronized 10m platform
Born July 24 1991 in Teochew 潮州, Lim was included in the China national diving team in 2005. In the same year he won the FINA Diving Grand Prix Spain Station men’s 10m platform doubles competition. His other honours include:
- 2006 World Cup men’s synchronized10m platform champion, Doha Asian Games men's singles and synchronized 10m platform gold medals;
- 2007 World Swimming Championships men's singles 10m platform third place, synchronized champion;
- 2008 Beijing Olympic men's synchronized 10m platform gold;
- 2009 Rome World Championships men's 10m platform diving champion;
- 2014 Incheon Asian Games men's synchronized3m springboard gold medal;
- 2015 World Swimming Championships men's synchronized 10m platform champion
Ng Boon Ngi 黃文儀 (Huang Wenyi): rowing - women's lightweight double sculls
Born March 6th 1991, Teo-yor 潮陽. Ng’s first major honour came in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games when she and her rowing mate Pan Feihong won the women's lightweight double sculls gold medal. Partnering Xu Dongxiang, she won the silver medal in the women's lightweight double sculls in the 2012 London Olympic Games. (Ng is on left in picture below)
Bou Haihong 傅海峰 (Fu Haifeng): badminton men’s double’s
Born August 23rd 1983 in Huilai, Bou is the oldest of the trio. He became part of the China badminton team in 2002, and together with Cai Yun won three consecutive World Championships titles in the men's doubles from 2009 to 2011. In London 2012 Bou and the same partner claimed China’s first Olympics gold medal in the badminton men’s doubles.
Better known for our accomplishments in business, culture and the arts than sports, there are relative few Teochews who have attained world class sportsmen status. The most famous is perhaps American-born tennis player Michael Chang who surprised the world by winning the French Open in 1989 at the age of 17, and was later runner-up in three more Grand Slam finals. However, there are still several other Teochew sport stars who have achieved admirable success:
Li Hongpheng 李宏平 (Li Hongping), diving
A native of Swatow who was hailed in his heydays as the “ballet prince of the diving kingdom”. He captured the first ever world titles in diving for China through gold medals at the 1981 FINA World Cup in Mexico City and the 1981 World University Games.
Li's career became an inspiration for more Teochews and laid for more to later excel in the sport. He later moved to the US where he held various appointments as diving coach.
Sng Sok Ui 孫淑偉 (Sun Shunwei), diving
From Gek-yor (揭陽). Burst into the limelight at the tender age of 14 in 1990 when he won the gold medal in the 10 metre platform in Beijing Asian Games. This was followed by gold medals in both Diving World Cup and World Diving Championship in the following year. In 1992 Sun became the first Olympic gold medallist from the Teochew region, when he beat all other competitors at the in the 10 meter platform event in the Barcelona Summer Games. Though subsequently plagued by injuries, Sng still managed triumphs in the 1995 and 1998 Diving World Cup and 1999 World Diving Championship.
Kueh Ui-Iang 郭偉陽 (Guo Weiyang), gymnastics
Another from Teo-yor (潮陽), Kueh first made his mark on the international stage by clinching the horizontal bar competition in the inaugural Artistic Gymnastics World Cup in 2008. He became a treble winner in the 2010 World Cup held in Ghent, coming up tops in the pommel horse, parallel bars and horizontal bar events.
Olympics glory beckoned for Kueh in the 2012 London Games when he was part of the China team that won the men's gymnastics team gold.
Know of other Teochew sportsmen/women participating in the current Olympics and deserving of recognition from outside China? We'll be happy to know!