For Leung, the joy of victory outweighs pain of leg injury

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 February, 2008, 12:00am

In the running world there's never any gain without a little pain. Or a lot, as the case can sometimes be.

Hong Kong's Leung Ying-suet revealed after storming to victory in the women's section of the 10km event yesterday that she has, in recent months, been hampered by a hamstring strain that has seriously curtailed her training. But it somehow worked in her favour, she said, as it forced her to focus on every step.

'I've been hurt for over three months so I didn't really think I could run that well today,' said the 27-year-old. 'I guess it just made me concentrate more.' Leung damaged the hamstring in her left leg while on a two-month training camp in Kunming in August last year and has been undergoing treatment since.

'When we hit the 7km mark it really started to hurt but by then I realised I had a chance to win the event - so I just kept going,' said Leung, who won in 38:01.

'The problem in my leg had been building over a long period and because of that it is taking a really long time to heal.' A regular on the road circuit, Leung said the victory erased the disappointment she had felt in not being able to get out and pound the pavement.

'I've not been able to do any intensive training and I thought that would affect my performance today' she said. 'So I started the event knowing I needed to run at a slow pace, but it was still enough to win. It has really been a surprise to me.'

Leung has tackled the 10km for the past eight years - but never won. She said she thought the flatter layout had worked in her favour.

There was a surprise, too, in the junior women's section when 15-year-old Vincci Hui Wai-sum crossed the line as the winner in 41:49.

The Diocesan Girls' School student is more known as one of Hong Kong's most promising triathletes and she admitted that entering the event was more an afterthought than part of any serious training strategy.

'It's just such a shock,' she said. 'To tell the truth I didn't put much training in because with triathlons you have three sports to concentrate on - not just the running.

'I have still been running distances two or three times a week but never thought I could win. Running is fun but triathlons are my passion.' Next up for the youngster is an Asian club triathlon in Thailand next month and Hui says yesterday's victory can only boost her confidence. 'I felt good, and strong at the end, so things can only get better.'

Try, try, try again!

The number of times Leung Ying-suet has contested the 10km event: 8