National Champion Sou Pak Chi:‘Rock climbing gives me strength and confidence.’

Text│Cravina Chong
Photo│Jack Ho, with some provided by the interviewee

Sou Pak Chi is a fourth-year student from the Faculty of Education. In 2015, she won the championship at a national inter-varsity rock climbing competition. It was the second championship won by UM’s Rock Climbing Team at this competition. When asked if the champion title is a source of stress for her, she says, ‘I don’t care too much about competitions or awards. I only want to maintain my interest in rock climbing and help more people know about this sport.’

Introducing More People to Rock Climbing

Sou started rock climbing at the age of 14. At first her parents did not support her new hobby, but they gradually came around after realising she was serious about it. One doesn’t have to be of strong build to rock climb; flexibility, coordination and the ability to analyse a climbing route are more important. ‘This is what makes rock climbing great fun and why I love it,’ Sou says.

Growing up with two athletic brothers, Sou used to think she was the only child in the family who failed to inherit the athletic gene. Rock climbing has boosted her self-confidence in sports and in other areas of her life. Moreover, it gives her an opportunity to influence the people around her, which she finds particularly rewarding. ‘Rock climbing is not a very popular sport in Macao. But through news stories about me and our Rock Climbing Team, people who have never tried rock climbing are gradually learning more about it, and it makes me really happy to be able to do my part to popularise this sport,’ she says.

Sou Pak Chi is actively involved in promoting rock climbing in Macao

‘As long as you keep trying, you will succeed in the end.’

Every time Sou encounters setbacks in training, she reminds herself of the old adage, ‘Failure is the mother of success.’ As cliched as this phrase may sound, it aptly encapsulates the process of mastering rock climbing. Rock climbing is a sport where one fails a lot. In fact, according to Sou, it is not unusual for a climber to try 20 times before successfully ascending a route. That is why Sou often tells new climbers not to fear failure. Her refrain is, ‘As long as you keep trying, you will succeed in the end.’

Sou is very pleased to see the improvement in the climbing facilities on campus, which has helped draw more students to the team. ‘The climbing wall on the old campus was only eight metres high, while the one on the current campus is 15 metres high,’ she says. ‘Also, the space is bigger. A new bouldering wall was built recently. These will greatly benefit our training.’

National rock climbing champion Sou Pak Chi

Spider Woman’s Dream

Judging by Sou’s quiet and gentle demeanour, it is difficult to associate her with the ‘Spider Woman’ on the climbing wall. ‘People tend to think that athletes are all of solid build, but actually you don’t have to have strong build to play rock climbing. It’s both a physical and an intellectual sport, which is why I love it,’ she says. Sou hopes to become an English teacher after graduation. ‘When I become a
teacher, I will encourage my students to exercise more and to find a sport that they are passionate about and can stick to,’ she says.

ISSUE 14 | 2016

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