New awards give swimmers incentive
A new awards scheme will give swimmers an incentive to break their personal best times at this weekend's Hong Kong Open Championships at Kowloon Park Pool.
Swimmers who score 75 points or above in the new Swimming Awards Scheme will receive badges and certificates.
The awards are based on the old Hong Kong High Point scoring system, where swimmers collected points throughout the season by taking part in competitions approved by the Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association (HKASA).
'We hope this new scheme will stimulate young swimmers' interest and encourage participation in training,' said HKASA spokesperson, Angela Cheung.
'We want to help swimmers to identify their targets and motivate them to attain a higher standard of performance.'
The scheme, which offers five badges, requires swimmers to take part in four disciplines at different distances.
The one-star badge is for swimmers with 75 points. For each five points over 75, they can collect the next badge, up to the five-star award for 95 points. Only a few swimmers have a chance to win the full set of badges this weekend.
The biggest swimming event on the local calendar has attracted hundreds of participants from clubs around the territory.
The HKASA has invited international teams to the event this year, with the aim of raising its standards.
'We expect a tough battle between Hong Kong swimmers and their elite counterparts from Singapore and South Korea, many of whom won medals at the seventh Asian Swimming Championships earlier this year,' said Cheung.
Organisers are expecting a capacity crowd of about 2,000 people to cheer on the local swimmers, who are mostly school students.
Record-breakers, including Hannah Wilson, Sze Hang-yu, Yip Tsz-wa, Suen Ka-yi and Geoffrey Cheah, will use the Open as a tune-up to the 2006 Asian Games in Doha, Qatar, in December.
Hong Kong's Doha-bound swimming and water polo teams - comprising 21 and 13 members, respectively - will be introduced to the fans at the competition.
The entire swimming squad will be in action this weekend.