XI'AN, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- Granted annual leave by her company, Macao resident Leong On Ieng flew to Xi'an in northwest China's Shaanxi Province to participate in the beach volleyball competition at the country's 14th National Games.
The 25-year-old is a sports journalist by occupation and a beach volleyball spiker, and started to play the sport in primary school.
Having been a journalist for two years, Leong still does not give up her hobby. It has become her daily routine as she usually gets off duty at 7:30 p.m., rushes to volleyball court and takes training until eleven o'clock in the evening.
Leong's partner at the National Games is her schoolmate Law Weng Sam, who has played beach volleyball for 10 years and began working with Leong in 2014.
Being a PE teacher and director of a class in a middle school, Law has a very hectic work schedule.
"Especially in the first year of work, I was so exhausted," Law said, recalling that due to lack of exercise time and poor training quality, her skills became rusty.
"When training after work, I feel more tired physically and mentally," she said. "You need to make a lot more effort."
To practice beach volleyball, the pair often go to Hac Sa Beach in Macao, which is open to the public. "We have to pay special attention to junk on the beach including gravel and little stones, otherwise we will get hurt," Law said.
Liang said when she is tired, two questions arise: "What are you insisting on? Why are you working so hard?"
"I think that is love for volleyball," Liang said, exchanging a smile with her companion. "Love gives us power to carry on."
The dual roles of sports correspondent and athlete, have added extra flavor to her life. "I knew merely volleyball in the past, while reporting gives me opportunities to meet athletes in different sports," she said.
When covering volleyball games, it often occurs to Liang that interviewees are her friends from court.
"You once interviewed me, did you not?" Law laughed, adding that while competing at the Asian Women's U23 Volleyball Championship 2019, she met with Leong who was covering the game and accepted her interview.
At the National Games, what impressed Leong and Law most was a match with players from northeast China's Liaoning Province. After losing the first set, they took the lead in the second set, but eventually lost the set and the game in straight sets.
"It was a great pity," Law said, "We are so inexperienced as we have never been in this situation."
"For these amateurs, every major event is an opportunity to gain experience," said Ao Chi Veng, vice president of the Volleyball Association of Macao.
"Regardless of victory or defeat, their courage and tireless efforts are always admirable," Ao said.
At the National Games, Leong and Law have spent much time talking and playing together without any distraction, which is a rare opportunity even though they both live in Macao.
"We have a clearer goal at the Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou next year," Law said, adding that although in daily life they are still an ordinary journalist and a teacher, volleyball dreams have been giving them impetus to move forward.
"We want to do something meaningful in our limited time to spare no effort to fight for what we love," the 23-year-old said. Enditem