Olympics – Hong Kong plumber’s Olympic breakdancing dream goes down the toilet

By Thomson Reuters Mar 10, 2024 | 8:07 PM

By Joyce Zhou and Lam Yik

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Plumber by day, breakdancer by night, Cheung Cheuk Man was disappointed to miss out on an Olympic berth when breaking makes its debut at the Paris Games but the Hong Kong B-boy hopes to help develop the city’s next wave of talent in the dance sport.

The 30-year-old, who is also known as ‘Ex’, finished 52nd at the World DanceSport Federation Olympic qualification event in Hong Kong in December, and 130th globally, putting paid to his chances of performing on the biggest stage of all this summer.

But after spending the last 15 years learning to breakdance, overcoming issues such as a lack of coaches, funding and formal training, Cheung is too invested in the sport to quit.

“If I could enter the Olympics, it would be even more amazing,” said Cheung, who needs his day job to pay rent for his tiny apartment in the city’s industrial Kwai Chung district.

“To be blunt, I’m getting older. If I were to push myself like I did in previous years, I might not even be able to.

“I’m not saying I’ll stop dancing altogether, but maybe I’ll transition to the next stage, which is teaching and nurturing the next generation.”

That next generation of talent may not get the chance to dance for Olympic gold, however. After being added to the Paris programme in 2020, breaking was dropped for the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.

After representing Hong Kong in competitions from Brazil to Japan, Cheung said breaking needed as much exposure as possible to flourish.

“It’s important we have the opportunity for others to see it. It’s important for promoting the culture,” said Cheung, who sported tattooed arms and silver tunnel earrings.

“Competing with world class people, this is very positive. Dancing is a really positive thing, you don’t need to talk at all. It’s about communication.”

(Writing by Farah Master; Editing by Peter Rutherford)