Wilson Cheung and Ho Yuen-kei, an alumnus of the Bachelor of Physical Education and Recreation Management programme and alumna of the Bachelor of Social Sciences in China Studies programme respectively, have been named among the Ten Outstanding Young Persons this year in recognition of their extraordinary endeavours, remarkable achievements and strong fighting spirit.
From exploration to glacier research
Wilson Cheung is the world’s first Chinese polar expedition expert. He currently works at the Ice Climate and Environment Lab at Queen’s University in Canada. In partnership with Parks Canada, his research aims to assess multi-decadal glacier area and volume change using remote sensing techniques, and develop a sustainable, field-based glacier monitoring approach for the future.
Wilson has enjoyed exploring nature since childhood, having grown up in a rural area near Fanling. During his time at HKBU, he seized every opportunity to travel overseas and expand his horizons. He went to Antarctica for the first time in 2007 as a student on an expedition organised by an environmental group.
After graduating, he spent years exploring the world in various roles, including leading expeditions across the Arctic and Antarctic, and working as a mountain, ski and sea kayaking guide in the remote areas. He has also provided consultancy services for polar scientific research teams. To further his knowledge about the polar regions, he studied polar and marine science in Russia, followed by geosciences and glaciology in Germany.
Eager to raise environmental awareness, Wilson established Ecobus, a non-profit organisation that brings students to marine and country parks to learn conservation. He also co-founded the Asia Youth Alpine Mentors Program to train young people as alpinists and polar explorers.
Overcoming barriers with perseverance and positivity
Another awardee of this year’s Ten Outstanding Young Persons is alumna Ho Yuen-kei, a member of the Boccia Team of Hong Kong, China.
Yuen-kei was born with spinal muscular atrophy, a condition that makes walking difficult and leaves her more physically vulnerable than the average person. When she was in junior high school, she was introduced to the sport boccia, which has since become an indispensable part of her life. In 2008, she was inducted into the Hong Kong, China team. The next year, she represented Hong Kong, China for the first time in the Asian Youth Paralympic Games. In 2016, she achieved her dream of taking part in the Paralympics, and she was the first Hong Kong athlete to compete in the BC3 boccia classification, for athletes with significant limitations in their arms and legs. She also competed in the boccia competitions at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Games.
Yuen-kei is currently ranked first in the individual world rankings. Although her path to sporting success is not particularly smooth, she reminds herself to never give up in face of difficulties. Her motto is: “As long as you have the abilities, use them and do not limit yourself.” With her perseverance, optimism and positivity, she was selected by the Regeneration Society as one of its Regeneration Warriors 2015-2016, and she is always happy to share her own story to inspire others.
The Ten Outstanding Young Persons Selection has been organised by the Junior Chamber International Hong Kong since 1970. The award recognises young people who excel in their professional endeavours and commitment to the community. It also promotes role models who shape a better future through their personal achievements as well as public services.