Wing Ding: A Potted History (by Steve Gollop)

During the 1990’s a certain 30 something by the name of Yuen Kam Wing (Wing) was working at the Urban Council Squash Centre (now HK Squash Centre) in Cotton Tree Drive. Wing served at the small Club Bar and also looked after booking of the numerous courts. All remember with fondness his call of ‘You No Pay!’ being blasted out at competing players as he patrolled the courts. Despite being severely disabled, Wing was a larger than life character; he was constantly cheerful and had a fine sense of humour. The fact that he spent so much time helping others to run around the courts when he himself could not even walk without assistance was an inspiration to all.

Sadly, Wing passed away in November 1998 and in the Squash Bar after the funeral it was put forward by Phil Head and Nick Rickets to hold an annual tournament in his name, to keep alive his memory and spirit. In November 1999, the ‘Wing Memorial Running Teams Tournament’ was introduced to Hong Kong and the wheels were turning for what was to become ‘probably’ the biggest Squash Charity Tournament in the world.

The first event witnessed 8 teams of 8 players producing 56 almost non-stop mini games across 4 courts. The teams were KCC, HKCC, HKFC, LRC, Police and 3 Spank teams. The tournament was communicated by fax and in the absence of spreadsheets or user friendly score cards, all was ‘recorded’ individually and manually. Beer was a feature throughout the whole day, which must have diminished the pocket calculator accuracy in the bar after, and explains why I could not ascertain who won. The spirit of the event was established.

In 2000 the tournament was moved to Island School because the Squash Centre was being renovated. The now legendary ‘David Murray spreadsheets’ were introduced and the incredibly onerous task of recording everything was made possible. Dave has been an integral part of the event ever since, putting in an astounding number of hours.

2001 was back to the Squash Centre and the year when the organizers tried to run it with 9 teams. The mistake was realized the night before and the answer was to have one court operating on the day with the spare player sprinting lengths to win points.

WingDing2009_Poster.jpg

2002 saw the most courts ever being used. 8 courts over 2 floors; result, mayhem! It is also believed that this is the year when Tim Everest was seen to be destroying his opponent and a charitable Phil Head leapt on court to switch his racquet for a wooden one.

2003 was a landmark year for the Tournament;

  1. It was permanently re-housed in the HKFC, where the Club has been exceptionally generous with its time and facilities ever since.
  2. It was decided to make it a charity event and around HKD34,000 was raised for Home for the Loving Faithfulness, benefitting disabled orphans over Christmas.
  3. I believe this is the year when it became a fancy dress event, making it even more difficult to take the squash element too seriously. There are many tales of underwear being displayed just to prove colour and gain extra points. It may also be the year when the name became the ‘Wing Ding’?
  4. Tim Everest became involved in the organization of the event, putting incredible time and efforts into the fund raising element. Millions of dollars have been raised and Tim is very much responsible for creating a number of years where over HKD1m was raised.

2004 was the year that the partnership with Operation Santa Claus was established and has remained ever since. This charity is run through the SCMP and RTHK, benefitting numerous local charities each and every year with a focus on the Christmas period.

Since 2003 millions of dollars have been raised and every cent donated has been paid on to local charities. The Tournament is played every year in the best possible spirit and presents a time when all levels can enjoy competing in the same event for the purpose of keeping Wing’s spirit alive, helping those less fortunate than ourselves and simply enjoying the squash community.

A committee has now been established to secure a strong future for the tournament and both teams and individual players are invited to participate from every level. If you want to become more involved in any way, please contact the below.

Steve Gollop stephen.gollop@sjpp.asia

David Murray squash@murray.hk

Little has been recorded from the early years and so my apologies in advance for any inaccuracies in the above.

Steve Gollop

 Wing_Ding_Logo_2016.png    WING DING

COACHING

Phil Head and his team are available for lessons, both private and group, for all ages.  For more information please contact Phil on philhead@netvigator.com or on 9166 4931.

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