Easy as one, two, three
Triathlon offers the opportunity to develop skills in three different sports that will improve cardiovascular fitness, involve a variety of training activities and build muscular capabilities in a balanced way.
Additionally, triathlon competitions present a significant mental challenge in which to develop a stronger sense of determination and personal willpower.
The Hong Kong Triathlon Association (www.triathlon.com.hk) is responsible for introducing the sport to the public, providing elementary training courses.
It recommends training for events such as aquathon (swimming and running) and duathlon (cycling and running) before triathlons so that students can more easily develop the basic skills needed in each of the three disciplines.
'Once they are familiar with the basic skills and have achieved good fitness levels, they can try a triathlon [swim, bike and run]. In particular, children need to have good basic swimming and cycling skills before taking part in a triathlon,' explains Janice Cheung, sports executive at the Hong Kong Triathlon Association.
Tri HK operates a development programme called Triathlon Grass Roots Athlete Development Plan, which is subvented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.
This programme includes free Triathlon Fun Days for youngsters aged eight to 18 through which they can experience the sport for the first time.
Competitors take part in a 100m swim, 2km cycle and 600m run. They are divided into three age groups - eight to 11, 12 to 15 and 16 to 18 - with certificates and badges awarded based on finishing times.
Students can also enrol in an aquathon, duathlon or triathlon beginners' course organised by Tri HK. All courses include eight, two-hour sessions and cost HK$160. Cycling equipment is provided at all relevant courses.
There are two age divisions in each course - eight to 14, and 15 and upwards.
Courses are scheduled for this month and next. Titan Triathlon (www.titantriathlon.com) is a club affiliated with Tri HK and provides training for beginners. Participants can choose to train one to three days per week depending on their level of interest and experience in swimming and cycling. Monthly fees are HK$360 for one session per week, HK$640 for two and HK$840 for three.
'Beginners need to know the basic rules and skills involved in the sport, including road safety, bike control, physical fitness routines, event transitioning and injury prevention,' explains Clare Chui, development officer at Titan Triathlon.