Hong Kong Record-Breaking Swimmer Cheuk Ming-Ho Has Heart Scare

Racing in his late Hong Kong teammate Kenneth To‘s memory, 17-year-old Cheuk Ming-ho earned a FINA ‘B’ mark en route to clocking a new national record in the men’s 400m freestyle last year.

Taking gold at the 400m freestyle at the 62nd Festival of Sport in April 2019, then-16-year-old Ming-ho registered a winning effort of 3:53.05 to log a new record and add his name to the possible list of consideration entries for this summer’s Olympic Games.

But life since that achievement has been anything but easy, as the teen has been facing heart-related medical issues that almost sidelined his Olympic dreams entirely as of late last year.

Speaking with South China Morning Post this week, Ming-ho explained, “I had just completed a two-hour, high-intensity training in the pool and felt very excited as I would leave for a winter training camp in Kunming the following day.

“Suddenly, I was told I had to stop all kinds of training, even light jogging was not allowed because there were some problems with my heart.”

The freestyle ace had gone for a routine medical screening in December, part of the protocol being followed by elite training centre athletes following To’s death, as well as a heart-related death by snooker player Poon Ching-chiu.

“I did suffer myocarditis [inflammation of the heart muscle, which can result in shortness of breath, chest pain, decreased ability to exercise, and an irregular heartbeat] two years ago, but have fully recovered,” said Cheuk. “But it seemed to be more serious this time as I had to stop everything. Suddenly a lot of question marks came up in my mind. If I could not swim again, what could I do? Could I just pick up a sport like chess, which involves little physical activity?

“I have been in swimming training since primary four and became a member of the junior Hong Kong team two years later. The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games are just around the corner and I am working hard to get the selection as this is the dream of every swimmer. All these efforts over the years would go up in smoke if I couldn’t swim again.”

Cheuk was further examined by cardiologic specialists who ultimately determined that there is nothing alarming about the swimmer’s heart that would need further treatment.

“I have prepared for the worst and it was a big relief to be able to focus on my Olympic qualification campaign again.”

“I will be competing in another age group meet in Malaysia in March and the Hong Kong Long Course Time Trial the following month. Both will be the targets for reaching more B standards.”

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2 years ago

The timeline is a little confusing. This is what i can gather: Had myocarditis 2 yrs ago from which he fully recovered. Had a great swim in april 2019. Had a screening exam in December ’19 after a hard practice which seemingly raised some red flags and has subsequently been cleared by a cardiologist.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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