HK Diamond Mile seeks major sponsor

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 October, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 October, 2011, 12:00am

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Yesterday's Hong Kong International Diamond Mile in Central could well turn to gold if a sponsor can be found for next year's race.

Kwan Kee, chairman of the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association (HKAAA) said that he would like to see the event brought back into the annual calendar, but that a title sponsor would need to be found to cover the costs.

'We organise races from track and field to cross-country and, of course, the full marathon, so I would like to see the one-mile race come back as an annual event,' Kwan said.

The popular event was first staged as the Golden Mile in 1986 and was held on an annual basis until 2002, when the Bank of China was title sponsor.

Yesterday's event was staged as part of the HKAAA's 60th anniversary celebrations.

'The event was a complete success and it's my belief that we can turn it into something quite special that would attract high-quality international athletes to compete,' Kwan said.

There were 16 individual races yesterday, which culminated with athletes from across the Asia-Pacific region taking part in the men's and women's invitational races.

Australia's Melanie Daniels lived up to her billing as pre-race favourite and demolished the field with a run timed at four minutes and 58 seconds, which was 11 seconds ahead of Japan's Azusa Saito.

'I've been doing cross-country races at home and it has been very cold, so I've really enjoyed the warm weather for my first trip to Hong Kong,' Daniels, who lives in Tasmania, said.

Hong Kong's Yiu Kit-ching gave the home supporters something to cheer about by taking the women's bronze medal in 5:12.

'Obviously I'm please to finish with a medal but I was planning on breaking the Hong Kong women's record for the event [4:58.91], so to be honest I'm disappointed,' Yiu said.

Japan's Tatsuro Okazaki reversed the order of finishing among the women by out-sprinting pre-race favourite Grant Page of Australia to win the men's race in 4:18.00.

'I'm thrilled to win as this is my first international victory as a senior runner,' Okazaki, 22, who lives in Tokyo, said.