New Athletics Director aims to fly high with the Black Kites

Written by Endria Tai

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With Kate Nankivell leaving our school community to return to Australia, Biology and Physical Health Education teacher Nick Sheriff-Smith has succeeded as Athletics Director for this school year.

Sheriff-Smith is excited for the job, and he is in the early stages of getting used to the role of athletics director. He applied for the position because of his passion for health and fitness.

“I have been involved in coaching for a long time,” he said. “It is a good career progression. As I am involved in both sciences and sports, I am trying to strike a balance between the two by getting involved as the athletics director.”

The team sports program at RCHK was launched in 2006. Competing in leagues such as the International Schools Sports Federation (ISSFHK), Hong Kong Schools Sports Federation (HKSSF) and the Association of China and Mongolia International Schools (ACAMIS), the Black Kites sports program is an invaluable part of Renaissance College.

“Every Black Kite athlete should have team spirit and is committed,” Sheriff-Smith said. “They should have a belief that what they do changes things and that every person can make a difference to the team.”

“Resilience is something that sport teaches us,” he added. “We are not going to win everything, but losing teaches us the ability to bounce back. It’s okay to fail, and sport is good for allowing us to do that.”

The RCHK community is looking forward to the new seasons of sports that this year will bring, and the changes that the director might be making to our athletics program.

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Brian Chia is a sports scholar who is a part of both the basketball and volleyball team. He has been an avid member of the Black Kites community. “I think Mr. Sheriff-Smith will be able to add a fresh perspective to the program,” Brian said. “He has already made a school athletics website, and I think he can implement new ideas in the athletics program.”

Brian would like to see our athletics program allow more teams to participate in local competitions to increase exposure for our athletes and improve the reputation of our school in the local scene. “So far there hasn’t been any major changes but I look forward to seeing Mr. Sheriff-Smith bringing a fresh approach and encouraging our athletes to bring our program to greater heights.”

The captain of the girls’ basketball team and the chairwoman of the Black Kites Athletics Council Sabrina Chan said that it is unfortunate that Ms. Nankivell is leaving our school as she assisted the Athletics Council during its startup, and has helped it gain recognition within the community. However, she is looking forward to working with the new director. “With Mr. Sheriff-Smith being the new athletics director, it brings a new perspective into what we could potentially do since he is a new teacher.”

She added that Sheriff-Smith has already taken actions in terms of developing a new point system for swim gala to encourage more student participation, which might be the first of many new ideas we will see in the RCHK sporting community in the upcoming year.

The under-20 girls’ volleyball team coach Ms. Leung would like to see the facilities updated. “Getting a new athletics director means that there will be a set of fresh eyes to see what changes could be made in RCHK sports facilities,” she said. “One possibility would be to revamp the fitness room.”

Sheriff-Smith’s vision for the future of the sports program is based around his belief of the importance of external preparedness for a sport that athletes should have, both physically and mentally. He is aiming to increase the possibility of improving the health and fitness of athletes, also educating Black Kites on the psychology side of sports. He believes that winning is not everything, but it is something that all athletes should be striving for, and this external preparation could help them achieve their best.

“We should always be wanting to win - to win as much as possible, but it is also important to get people involved and enjoying sports,” he said. “I am looking forward to seeing Black Kites compete the best we can in everything this year.”