Joy of running wins hands down for youngsters
By MIKE FIELD
THE season's biggest track and field meeting got under way yesterday with the first day of the Age Group Championships at Wan Chai Sports Ground.
While several Hongkong track stars showed their paces, including Olympian sprinter Neville Ku Wai-ming, it was the hordes of youngsters who invaded the ground that caught the eye.
More than 500 young athletes, some under 10 years old, many novices and several barefoot, turned up simply for the joy of running.
The 100 metres preliminaries alone attracted some 70 starters in the various age groups and took almost an hour to complete as Hongkong Amateur Athletic Association officials reeled off the string of heats in an attempt to keep the day's programme on schedule.
As expected, Ku, a Watson's-Hongkong Sports Institute Elite athlete, breezed through his 100 metres, winning the final in a relaxed 10.99 seconds.
But it was Watson's Athletic Club's Asian Junior Championships representative Tung Chung-man who impressed the most with a fluent 55.89 seconds in the A-grade 400 metres that was a whisker outside the existing Hongkong junior record of 55.72 set by NelsonChan Ka-chiu in 1984.
With Watson's athletes dominant on the track, club newcomer Simon Parsons took things easy in the A-grade boys' 3,000 metres, winning in 9:33.01 for a career best by 10 seconds, which was less than 10 seconds outside Kwok Hon-kwai's 9:24.41 set in 1984.
Parsons was also a factor in the day's best race, the A-grade 800 metres final. St Paul's Chan Ping-hung ran intelligently on the bell lap to outkick favourite Cheang Man-sot of Happy Valley Athletic Association and Parsons in the finishing straight and hit the tape in 2:02.13.
Cheang took second in 2:02.22 with Parsons third in 2:02.58.
The girls' 800 metres also saw a good finish from Watson's 14-year-old Rachel Duckham who held off Jennifer Johnson of Hongkong International School to win in 2:27.73.
with Johnson taking second in 2:28.64.
Good Hope School's high jumper Villian Wong cleared the bar at a respectable 1.58 metres to win the A-grade girls' event by a comfortable margin from WAC's Leung Wai-chi.