(Hong Kong, 19 February, 2017) Shantou University (STU)’s 20 strong ocean rowing team, with 10 male and 10 female students, embarked on their eight-day rowing relay from Guangzhou province’s Shantou on 11 February and passed through Puning, Lufeng, Shanwei, Huizhou and Shenzhen before arriving in Hong Kong on 18 February. Upon completing their 640 km maritime journey and entering the Victoria Harbour, they were received by Honorary Chairman of the STU Board of Directors of Shantou University Mr Li Ka-shing.
Sponsored by the Li Ka Shing Foundation, this ocean rowing challenge aims to foster unity and perseverance amongst students and made several breakthroughs:
- 1. The challenge marked the first ocean rowing event in Asia.
- 2. The two R45 ocean rowboats used by the team are customised for race and the first to debut in Asia.
- 3. The challenge set a precedent for ocean rowing amongst universities in the world.
- 4. A competition-based education reform. The 20 members of the team were rigorously chosen from a pool of 260 candidates and trained for a year and their willpower, stamina, teamwork and determination were put to the test.
- 5. It is also a fundraiser for environmental protection and conservation of sea turtles and mangroves.
Why choose the monikers “Hannah” and “Jasmine for the rowboats?
“Hannah”, a common Hebrew female name denoting grace and abundance, and “Jasmine”, a signature flora in China connoting purity, richness, dignity and persistence, together symbolise STU’s bridging of the Israeli-Chinese friendship.
What are Mr Li Ka-shing’s views on this project?
Mr Li and his family escaped the war 70 years ago. They left their home in Chaozhou and arrived in Hong Kong safely after travelling on sailboats and riding in wood gas trucks for 1,000 km to bypass Japanese occupied areas. At the time, he was all at sea and he had never seen the ocean or waves before. Tempus fugit, Mr Li lamented the fleeting days. Now his greatest wish is to build a future for the younger generation which would become revolutionary, courageous, and industrious leaders of the society. Besides his favourite sport golf, it is little known that Mr Li also loves the ocean and enjoy rowing.
How did the team fulfill the journey?
To ensure smooth sailing, the ocean rowing team has on board holder of Guinness world record for fastest solo transatlantic rowing, Charlie Pitcher, as well as his professional coaching team. Trained rigorously and not only required to have a strong physique and stamina, the students also needed to master swimming, rowing, navigation, seafaring and first aid to complete the challenge. Ocean rowing can also benefit personal growth in that it fosters rowers’ organisation, communications and leadership skills.
Speech of Mr. Li Ka-shing
Good morning to all our distinguished guests and friends ,and my warmest welcome to Team Hannah and Team Jasmine , faculties and students on board Yan Ping .
For the past week , I have followed with intense interest your 640 Km relay via the satellite tracker , the stories you shared on the message chat was awesome and inspiring .
During the war , my family and I took a more meandering escape route , We travelled 1000Km on wood gas trucks before boarding a boat to Hong Kong. At 11 years old then, I had never seen the ocean and its crashing waves before, and had absolutely no idea whether we could reach our destination.
Times have changed for the better now, openness and reform policies encouraged deep re-imaginations ; today , fortitude and endurance to embrace the momentum of disruptive innovation is a “must“ to navigate the future.
In this changing world, I am committed to inspire societal improvement through long-term education initiatives and it is my hope that Shantou University and Guangdong Technion Institute of Technology ,through their pursuit of education and excellence will foster our younger generations to become mission-driven thrivers ,creative, caring, intellectual engaged industrious leaders of the society.
I noticed we have a lot of friends from the media joining us this morning , its my turn to interview YoYo from team Jasmine today. “ YoYo, when your colleagues succumbed to harsh conditions and seasickness and cannot continue at their stations , you soldiered on for 8 hours alone , rowing against rough waters of 3 meters waves , please share with us your story . “
About the Li Ka Shing Foundation
Established in 1980, the Li Ka Shing Foundation (LKSF) has four core imperatives: 1) foster change, 2) empower people, 3) develop a better society, and 4) inspire societal improvement. Mr. Li considers the Foundation to be his “third son” and has pledged one-third of his assets to it. To date, over HKD20 billion has been put to work to support all its initiatives across 27 countries and regions. Over 80 per cent of LKSF’s donations benefit projects in the Greater China region.
For more information, please visit: http://www.lksf.orgWeibo: weibo.com/LKSfoundation Twitter: twitter.com/lksf Instagram: @lksfoundation Youtube: www.youtube.com/lksfoundationhk
About Shantou University
STU has more than 20,000 students, 10,000 of them full-time on campus, and each year more than 2,000 graduates, of whom approximately 26 per cent are medical students. The Li Ka Shing Foundation’s contribution to the university will reach HKD8 billion by 2018.
For more information, please visit: http://english.stu.edu.cn