The sport of pole vaulting demands that athletes be confident and courageous enough to advance and propel themselves over a bar with the aid of a pole. It is the spirit of this sport that inspired Jason, a Year 5 student of Physical Education & Recreation Management, to overcome the obstacles in his life.

Jason, though gifted, was born with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder. He has been restless and challenged the authority of his teachers since he was a child. No wonder he was considered an “unruly” student. With poor results in the Hong Kong Certificate of Education Examination, he repeated Form 5. It was then that he hit rock bottom, and began to suffer from depression after being misunderstood by other students. He recalls, “At that time, I was so afraid of going to school. Every entry into the classroom caused me great pain. What’s even worse was that what I shared with a social worker was reported to the school. Worried about how I would be looked upon by the school authorities, I dared not seek help anymore. Fortunately, I got much better once I completed Form 5.”

Subsequently, Jason embarked on an associate degree programme at HKBU and had the opportunity to pursue his dream of learning pole vaulting, beginning a new chapter in his life. Sharing his fond memories of his five years of university life, he says, “Pole vaulting definitely means a lot to me. Through this activity, I got acquainted with a team of selfless, tolerant and caring vaulters. We loved to have dinner together after practice.” He owes a debt of gratitude to Mr Tang Kim-fai, a retired coach and teacher, for his inspiring teaching and loving care, his family, girlfriend and seniors for their wholehearted support, as well as his teammate Ken for sharing his passion for the sport. “At the very beginning, it was me who taught him pole vaulting. However, we developed such mutual understanding that whenever I was emotionally unstable during practice, he would notice that and soothe me in no time.” No matter how tired he was, he looked forward to their weekly practice sessions with unfading enthusiasm over the years.

It was the greatest honour for Jason, an alumnus of Wah Yan College, to represent his alma mater in public competitions as part of the alumni team. “This has been a dream of mine since secondary school, and it gave me immense pleasure to have it come true. Standing in Wan Chai Stadium, the venue where the Inter-School Athletics Meet used to be held every year, I would feel particularly excited. That’s why every time I take part in a competition held there I’ve be able to better my personal best.” This year Jason represented the University at the University Sports Federation of Hong Kong Annual Athletics Meet and clinched the champion title, a record high of HKBU. However, he believes he still has room for improvement.

Inspired by his experience, Jason is determined to become a teacher and help those who also have learning and developmental difficulties. He says, “The value of education does not lie in the outstanding performance of students, but in supporting their growth in life.” Upon graduation, Jason will still teach pole vaulting at HKBU with the aim of passing on his skills and support the development of the sport.