HKUST Engineering undergraduate Jason Ng Tai-Long has just competed for Hong Kong in his first ever Asian Games, securing a bronze in the mixed triathlon relay event in Hangzhou. We discover more about how he balances academics and athletics.

How did the Asian Games go for you?

It was an honor to be chosen to represent Hong Kong. It was my first major games, so I don’t have much to compare it to, however it was an amazing experience. There was plenty of excitement in the athlete's village and the vibe was great. We had so much support from the Chinese crowds and all our parents were there supporting us which made it very special. As a team, I’m happy with our progress, we are a young and a strong tight knit group – I think that we can go a long way together.

Why did you join HKUST?

I chose HKUST because it has the best Engineering program. I love anything that moves — cars, bikes, any sort of machines. And that was why I chose to study engineering. Now with Prof. Xin Zhang, Chair Professor of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and his research team, we are looking at drag reduction and testing different types of helmets and equipment in wind tunnels and on the road. It’s inspiring and I’m so close to it. As an athlete, the wind tunnel project has been helping me with marginal gains that add up to significant gains in my biking skills. As an Engineering major, it’s all really interesting to gain first-hand experience in engineering research.

How do you balance athletics with academics?

The whole faculty has been so helpful. I would really like to thank Prof. Zhang for his enormous support. He offers me personal inspiration and enables me to give my 100% both in my athletic pursuits and in the classroom. My mother is a former athlete, and knows all about juggling academics and athletics. I was aware of the gauntlet that was thrown down, and ready for it. You have to really love this – I adore all three sports. The best thing is just to have fun and enjoy what you do. I’ve twice broken my nose, injured my hip flexor, and grappled with over-use injuries, but have never taken more than a few weeks away from triathlon in recent years.

What are the next steps for you?

My next steps are to focus on the new training season with a positive mindset to prepare for and do my best in 2024. All the athletes I meet bring different perspectives, and you learn a lot from them. These exceptional individuals from around the world excel in their respective fields and this has helped me grow not only as an athlete but also as a person. I’m so lucky, travelling the world, experiencing new places, meeting people from diverse backgrounds and exploring life from all types of angles through international competitions. I hope I can give back in the future and apply my Engineering degree to a sports-related industry after graduation – all while improving my game!