Young Chan twins take to competition like ducks to water

PUBLISHED : Monday, 30 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 30 July, 2007, 12:00am

Arthur Chan Hok-man cruised across the finish line of the BOC Duathlon in 16 minutes and 49 seconds and despite the hot and humid conditions looked as though he'd barely raised a sweat. His first concern was to check how far his identical twin brother Alfred was behind him.

The 10-year-old boys were competing in the Bank of China Festival of Sport Ultrakids Duathlon, which should have been staged as a triathlon, but recent shark sightings persuaded the organisers to switch to the run-bike-run duathlon format.

The course was laid out around the golf driving range at what was formerly the Whitehead Detention Centre near Ma On Shan.

Alfred coasted in just 24 seconds behind his brother and the two of them then scurried back down the course to cheer on their friends.

'The boys are a bit tired because they raced in Singapore yesterday,' said mother Ivy Lee. 'We arrived back in Hong Kong at about 10.30pm [on Saturday] and they were up again at 5am to come to this race.' In fact, the boys' bout of racing started in Port Dixon, Malaysia, last weekend where they - with their 12-year-old brother Adam - competed in a sprint distance triathlon (750m swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run).

Being at the wrong end of the 10-14 age-group the boys didn't pick up prizes in Port Dixon, but in Singapore on Saturday they placed second and third in the 10-12 age-group.

'My wine glass cabinet is now full of the boys' trophies,' said their father, James, a Yuen Long-based computer consultant. 'The wine glasses have all been put away in order to make more room for their trophies.'

James described himself as an 'ironman', as his non-working life now seems to revolve around the boys' training and racing.

'They swim train three times a week and also attend a group training run session twice a week. I had to buy an eight-seater minivan to be able to transport the boys and all of their equipment to training and races.'

When asked if he really wanted to compete in the Whitehead event after only a few hours sleep, Arthur, the first born of the two brothers, replied with a grin: 'Sure, it's fun.'

In addition to triathlons, duathlons and aquathons, the Chan brothers also compete in running events, which means a busy racing schedule.

James said that as long as they continued to enjoy their sport he would support them, but would not push them into something they no longer enjoyed.

'Right now they enjoy training and racing, and as they're still at primary school they don't have any additional academic homework to do,' James said.

'When they go on to secondary school they will probably have homework and extra studying to do, but we'll look into that when the time comes.'