With fearless spirit Macau flashing like stars
In the words of a local news report on the team: ‘full of morale and created with fearless spirit, Macau, which is as fine as sand on the world map, can also flash like stars.’
Just to be at the IKF World Korfball Championship 2019 is a huge achievement for Macau, and a bonus as they missed out on automatic qualification with a seventh placing at the IKF Asia Oceania Korfball Championship 2018, receiving an invitation to the tournament in Durban after previous qualifiers Zimbabwe and Dominican Republic withdrew.
This is not only the first time ever that Macau has been at the IKF WKC, it is the first time Macau has attended a world championship in any sport.
Atte van Haastrecht is well known to many in international korfball as the president of Stadskanaal ‘74, which has hosted a tournament for developing korfball nations for the last two decades. He will coach Macau in South Africa. He says his players are enthusiastic, full of energy, and good learners.
“Macau participated in the 2015 Stadskanaal tournament. They stayed a week and asked me to organise some training sessions. After that, they asked me to prepare them for the IKF AOKC 2018 in Japan.
“Last April, I spent 10 days in Macau taking intensive daily training sessions in preparation for the AOKC. We beat Korea 8-7 in our ranking game at the tournament. We were very happy with that, which meant we were number seven for Asia-Oceania, and therefore on the reserve list for the WKC. Our preparation started right after the AOKC in August 2018, so we were ready when the invitation came.
“After our unexpected qualification, as we are ranked number 30 in the world, the lowest of all teams participating, we have to be realistic about our goals for the tournament. We are going to South Africa to learn, and in the second part of the tournament we will try our best to finish higher than place number 20 at this championship,” he said.
Macau’s oldest and most experienced player is Michael Chek. Michael, who was selected in the tournament team at the IKF AOKC 2018 in Japan, started playing korfball in 2005, and says he has loved every moment since.
“After playing for 13 years, I had one dream left: playing at a World Championship. Now that dream is about to come true.
“As a team, our aim is to play our best every game, and try to win.
“After the WKC, we will continue to develop actively. Although Macau is a small place, we hope to cultivate more and better players. And we hope the Macau team will be able to qualify for another WKC again in the future,” says Michael.
Most of Macau’s players started playing korfball at university or high school, between the ages of 15 and 18. Almost all squad members take part in activities to promote korfball, giving lessons at primary and secondary schools, and also at university.
As with many developing korfball nations, size is the main difference between korfball in Macau and elsewhere, as Atte explains.
“Macau’s players have no regular competition. There is only one club, Flamingo, and a university team. Sometimes the teams play tournaments or friendly matches against Hong Kong, or other teams. Apart from that, their korfball activity is training, training, training,” he says.
#TeamMAC IKF WKC 2019
1: Choi I Tang
3: Weng Si Sio
5: Ka U Chao
6: Chon Kit Mak
8: Hou Kong Leng
12: Chi Cheng Au
17: Hio Leng Lam
19: Meng Heng Wong
20: Chi On Ho
21: Seng Lam Ao
26: Iok Kun Cheang
33: Io Kei Chek
99: Io Un Lo
Coach: Atte van Haastrecht
Manager: Au Chi Cheng
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Dani Ezpeleta2019-07-22 12:02:402019-07-28 10:57:38#TheTeamFiles: Macau China (IKF WKC 2019)