Safety measures for future marathons

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 16 February, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 February, 2006, 12:00am

After Sunday's fatality, organisers may seek runners' records

Organisers of the Standard Chartered Bank Marathon may ask runners to submit a sports history following the death of a runner just days after taking part in the race.

Tsang Kam-yin, 53, died on Tuesday morning after collapsing on the Tsing Ma Bridge, 13km into Sunday's annual marathon.

After a meeting on the race's safety standards yesterday, organisers said they would examine the feasibility of requesting athletes to submit records of races they had taken part in.

'We will have a review meeting within three weeks to consider announcing the air pollution index before a race begins and asking runners to give us information about their sports history, such as past marathon experience and records of regular training,' said the chairman of the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association, William Ko Wai-lim said.

But he ruled out the possibility of requiring runners to submit a medical report for a marathon.

'We did consider that before the race, but we found it impractical. Sunday's competition was hosted in February this year, but they [runners] had to file applications last year,' Mr Ko said.

'The medical evidence could not rectify the health condition of athletes on the day they had to run. We also do not want participants to be financially burdened, as it is quite costly to do a [complete] check-up.'

Chief of staff officer of the Auxiliary Medical Service Chan Yiu-wing said medical support during Sunday's event was 'more than enough'.

'I dare say the medical care provided that day was more than enough and 96 per cent of the injuries were very minor. I think the number of medical cases was very normal considering the huge number of participants,' Dr Chan said.

'All cases, including the two most serious ones, were taken care of by the best-quality medical staff who were very well-equipped.'

Principal Assistant Secretary for Home Affairs Eddie Poon Tai-ping, who also defended the safety measures, said the government and organisers had provided all necessary support for runners.

'Runners should be responsible for their own health. We cannot learn the medical history of every participant. They are the ones who know their bodies well. They should slow down when they do not feel well,' he said.

Chu Man-chung, who collapsed during the marathon, has regained consciousness and was in a stable condition at Ruttonjee Hospital yesterday. His brother said Mr Chu could speak on Tuesday and was able to recognise family members.