Hong Kong will be at the World Cup, if Hui Ka-hei gets her way

May 1, 2019

 Photo courtesy of Hong Kong Lacrosse 

 

As one of Baltimore Braves' 2018 draftees, Hong Kong Lacrosse Captain Hui Ka-hei is among exalted company as one Hong Kong's few international sporting exports. 

 

She is part of a list that includes footballers Cheung Wai-ki (Brisbane Roar) and Rugby Sevens star Cado Lee Ka-to (formerly of NEC Green Rockets in Japan), whose prowess has caught the eye of overseas clubs. 

 

On the back of an impressive performance at the 2017 Women's Lacrosse World Cup in England and a training session in Hong Kong squad, the American side made the decision to take her on for a season, as part of their bid to provide a competitive lacrosse league for international players. 

 

Indeed, Hui's stint in the US is a "surreal" experience that she looks back on with much fondness. 

 

 Photo credit: Hui Ka-hei 

 

"The pro players and everyone in the US were so welcoming and straight away they took me under their wing."

 

"I still remember my childhood hero walking across the locker room to introduce herself to me and to shake my hand as a sign of welcome on my first day at the game. These star players truly inspired me with not only their talents but their confidence as well as their humbleness."

 

Last week, she emerged as one of the standout performers amidst a pool of Asian teams in the Hong Kong Lacrosse Open, with a notable 4-goal display in the Final against Keio University despite finishing runners-up. 

 

However, Hui has set far more ambitious goals for her fellow Hong Kong teammates. 

 

Photo credit: Hong Kong Lacrosse Association 

 

"Our priority is to qualify for the 2021 World Cup. We are definitely going to aim high for the Asia Pacific Lacrosse Championship (June 19-29) and get the best results we can," said Hui, who first encountered the sport while studying at Harrogate Ladies' College in the UK. 

 

"Qualifying for the World Cup means that we have another opportunity to showcase what Hong Kong Women’s Lacrosse means on a global front."

 

Certainly on the home front, there are signs aplenty that Lacrosse is building up a head of steam. 

 

 Photo credit: Hong Kong Lacrosse Association 

 

The sport, whose Chinese name transliterates to "stick net ball", has witnessed exponential growth in the women's game over the past 4-5 years.

 

Not only has the player base swelled from 30 players to now over 100 players from secondary school to elite level; the first Women's Hong Kong Lacrosse Association (HKLA) U19 squad is set to take part in the U19 World Cup for the first time this summer. 

 

HKLA's success is not just confined to participation numbers, but also by a less tangible measure - even in the public eye, the sport's profile has come a long way. 

 

"The most noticeable growth is that the community is starting to recognise our sport. Before, most people would be very curious about our Lacrosse sticks," she remarked. 

 

"Nowadays, we could bump into a random cab driver who could actually name our sport and we can even spot high school students walking around with lacrosse sticks in the city. This is really something!"

 

 

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