RRAC champion Aboye seeks asylum in HK

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 May, 2009, 12:00am

Hong Kong runners have become accustomed to seeing an African athlete at the head of road races, and yesterday's RRAC Summer Run was no exception.

However, the African runner turned out to be Ethiopia's Daniel Haile Aboye, who came to Hong Kong in February to run the Standard Chartered Marathon, and said that due to 'problems' in his home country he has requested to stay in Hong Kong by applying for political asylum.

'I applied for asylum because there are problems in my country that makes returning home potentially dangerous,' said the 30-year-old professional runner from Addis Ababa. 'I would dearly love to remain in Hong Kong but I'll just have to wait and see what happens to my application.'

Aboye won yesterday's 8km race at Ma On Shan in 27 minutes and 22 seconds, some 200m ahead of Wong Tin-yau, who clocked 28.02 to hold off the challenge of third-placed Dennis Ng (29.04).

Wu Ki-kai, running in the men's 50-plus age-group ran an amazing time of 29.25 to net place fifth overall from the 1,000 starters, at least five of whom needed medical attention because of the soaring temperature and high humidity.

Clare Forbes won the women's race in a course record 30.46, and revealed that she too is having problems securing a visa to stay in Hong Kong.

The Immigration Department has not granted a visa to the 38-year-old British podiatrist, who now needs to find an alternative sponsor to support her application to work in Hong Kong.

'My work here is very important because there are many people with foot problems due to the rise in diabetes among the local population,' said Forbes, who finished the race two minutes clear of former winner Leung Ying-suet.