1,200 swimmers make waves in harbour race
- By: Man TSE、Yuchen LIEdited by: WANG Jingyan 王婧言
Over 1,200 swimmers made waves across Victoria Harbour on Sunday morning in the annual New World Harbour Race, with competitors expecting more places next year.
Kwok Chun-hei, 18, a member of the Hong Kong team, won the first place in the men’s group, while fellow Hong Kong team member Wong Ching-lam, 21, won the women’s group in the approximately one-kilometre race.
The race groups started at 7:05 am from the Golden Bauhinia Square Public Pier in Wan Chai and finished at the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui, while the leisure groups began at 7:45 am.
Participants had to present their vaccine pass and negative RAT results before entering the competition area. A queue was seen outside the Golden Bauhinia Square earlier in the morning.
The organiser limited the number of participants in leisure groups by drawing lots to “reduce large gatherings of people” during the pandemic.
Evelyn Wu, a mainland student from the University of Hong Kong, said she enjoyed the race, which was her first time swimming in Victoria Harbour. “The water was very clean. It was great to swim and enjoy the scenery at the same time,” she said.
But she said she was sorry her friend was not in the race. “ She was supposed to go with me, but she did not get drawn (in the lucky draw), so I had to come alone,” she added.
Another swimmer Clement Wong also said he was looking forward to more places at the Harbour Race next year.
“I have done the Harbour Race before, but I didn't expect it to be so small this year,” said Wong. He added that it was very crowded in the past when swimmers came ashore at the Quarry Bay.
“This year, although the venue is huge, it was a bit quiet and it seemed that few people come to see,” he said.
“I hope that next year the organisers can relax the limit on the number of participants, so that more people can take part in the competition and restore the lively atmosphere of the past,” said Wong.
The number of participants in the New World Harbour Race from 2016 to 2018 was around 3,000. After a two-year break in 2019 and 2020, the organiser has limited the number of participants to 1,500 from last year due to the pandemic.
Speaking at the award ceremony, Yueng Tak-keung, the Commissioner for Sports, said the department would discuss with the organisers the number of participants for next year.
“If the pandemic situation continues to improve, there will always be room for more." he said.
“We just want to finish the route and have fun together, and we do not have very high expectations. The priority is not to win, but to participate.” said Franky, Arnold and Hoover, members of the La Salle College swim team, who joined the leisure groups.
Ateqa Bangial, 14, competed in her first Harbour Race with her family cheering her on.
“It is good to have my family waiting at the end,” Ateqa said. “I am less nervous when I think of them during the race.”
《The Young Reporter》
The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.
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