Smash hit charity squash event raises HK$1.1m
Imagine SpongeBob SquarePants facing Super Mario at one squash court, while a Hawaiian tourist smashes a ball to Superman at the court next door.
This was the scene played out at the Hong Kong Football Club yesterday as the annual Wing Ding Squash Tournament got into full swing.
The 13th Wing Ding, one of the most fun and colourful fund-raising events in Hong Kong, raised more than HK$1.1 million for this year's Operation Santa Claus (OSC) appeal.
The tournament started in 1998 to celebrate the memory of Yuen Kam-wing, a physically disabled man who helped run the Hong Kong Squash Centre on Cotton Tree Drive. Yuen died at the age of 33 from complications related to his illness.
The money raised yesterday will go to 16 beneficiaries identified by OSC, an annual fund-raising campaign jointly organised by the South China Morning Post and Radio Television Hong Kong. Since it was established in 1988, OSC has supported more than 100 Hong Kong charities.
Under the rules of the Wing Ding, players must wear fancy dress and each plays 13 three-minute games. A horn blasts every three minutes to signal the start of a new game, and the players race from court to court.
This year saw 14 teams of 10 players battle it out, with each grade playing non-stop for 39 minutes.
'Coming up with the costumes is the most difficult part. We aren't allowed to choose the colour, so we have to invent a costume after we know what colour we have been given,' said May Tang, whose team had to dress in orange and decided to wear Hawaiian T-shirts.
May has been competing in the squash tournament for five years and it has become a family event, with her husband playing and her daughter manning the horn.
'It is a proud event,' said John Lau, a player with the American Club who has been participating for 13 years. 'Basically everyone in Hong Kong who plays squash can join by forming their own team. We have fun when we support charity work.'
Hong Kong Football Club won the event, with the Ladies Recreation Club second and the United Services Recreation Club third.
The nine-hour fund-raising event ended with an auction and a raffle.
Lee Robinson enjoyed the sailing course and trip to Bali he won at the auction last year, but had been too busy to use the trip to Phuket he also bought. 'But I really like this event because it is not just giving money away,' he said. 'We can participate and have fun while helping.'
'I am very pleased with the result. Everyone is eager to help because they can support a charitable cause and know the beneficiaries depend on their donations,' said Tim Everest, the Wing Ding's co-ordinator. 'The most rewarding part is always the smiling faces I see at the squash courts and knowing the money we raise will be great help to the needy.'
How you can give
Donate online by credit card at osc.scmp.com
Donations can be made at ATMs or at any branch of HSBC: account number 502-676299-001 for SCMP CHARITIES LTD-OPERATION SANTA CLAUS
You can make a donation by cheque, payable to 'SCMP CHARITIES LTD-OPERATION SANTA CLAUS' and mail to: Operation Santa Claus, Morning Post Centre, 22 Dai Fat Street, Tai Po Industrial Estate, New Territories, Hong Kong
Donations of HK$100 or more are tax-deductible. For a tax receipt, send the completed donation form and original bank receipt with your name, address and phone number to the address above.
Contact us via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone 2680 8159 or visit us online at osc.scmp.com