France stint pays off as Ricco leads the way

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 August, 2005, 12:00am

A long summer training stint in the south of France paid off for elite junior triathlete Ricco Chan Ye-ko who won his category in the third Aquathon of the season at Plover Cove on Sunday.

Several juniors recorded good times, but La Salle College student Ricco, 17, a former South China Morning Post Sportsperson of the Year, led the way with a strong 500-metre swim and 4km run.

He finished the race in 23 minutes 20 seconds - four seconds clear of his teammate, Ivan Lo Ching-hin - to win the elite junior class. Ricco completed the swim in a speedy 6 minutes 37 seconds.

Ricco and seven other junior triathletes have spent the summer training with the French national team in Montpellier.

'Ricco is a very strong swimmer and gave himself a comfortable lead before the run,' said Angela Wong of the Hong Kong Triathlon Association, who organised the event.

The men's overall winner was New Zealander Martin Van Barneveld, a university student visiting Hong Kong on his summer break. He clocked 22 minutes 46 seconds.

More than 600 athletes signed up for the race but around 100 failed to arrive for the 7.30am start.

'There was a typhoon signal up the night before, and this may have put people off,' said Wong.

Participants started with a swim in Tolo Harbour, followed by a run alongside the Plover Cove reservoir.

The last race of the four-part series is on September 11 in Repulse Bay. The champions in each age category will be decided by the points collected in all four races.

Other Aquathon III winners: Chow Tsz-ho (male junior), Wong Ka-ho (male youth A), Chan Ming-ting (male youth B), Crystal Wong Tsz-yan (female elite junior and overall), Lee Yin-nok (female youth A), Hui Wai-sum (female youth B).