A teen who relishes gruelling long races

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 April, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 26 April, 2012, 12:00am


The Olympic Games' motto is 'Faster, Higher, Stronger' and triathlete Tsang Ka-hung certainly abides by the slogan.

The 17-year-old Form Four student from Ling Liang Church M. H. Lau Secondary School often finished on the podium in the junior category of the Duathlon and Aquathon Series last year.

This year, she has set out to prove her mettle in a higher category. 'I knew I could win more prizes in the junior category, but I wanted to pit myself against stronger athletes from the national squad,' Ka-hung says.

Her target is to compete in the Ironman Triathlon, a gruelling race with long swim, bike and run components.

She came third in the Girls' Elite Junior Race 1 of the Duathlon Series held at Science Park in January. It consisted of a 3.2km bike ride, a 12km run and another 3.2km bike ride. 'I was quite surprised to win a prize in my category debut. It boosted my self-esteem,' says Ka-hung.

As soon as she crossed the finish line, she began analysing her performance.

'The top finishers in that race were all very close. I delayed my final push until it was too late and couldn't take the lead in the end,' she explains. 'So in the second race of the same distance at the same venue in February, I adopted a different strategy.'

It worked. She beat some strong Hong Kong junior team triathletes to win her first gold in the elite junior category in Race 2 of the Duathlon Series.

Ka-hung took up the sport only a few years ago. 'I love long-distance running and a friend introduced me to Gary Lui, a coach at AustSports Association. He thought I had potential so I joined the club,' says Ka-hung. 'I didn't know how to swim well at first. Many triathletes were already good swimmers so I had a big disadvantage in the aquathon and short-distance triathlon.'

But she persisted and began winning one medal after another.

'I won a gold medal in the junior category of the Aquathon Race 1 on April 15, but I still have a time deficit in swimming compared to junior team triathletes,' she admits. 'I'll need to improve step by step. One day, I want to challenge the Hong Kong squad's elite junior athletes in swimming at the aquathon.'

Until then, she does her laps relentlessly in the pool.

The up-and-coming young athlete is also busy preparing for the junior segment of the half Olympic distance race of the Bank of China 55th Festival of Sport - Age Group Triathlon, which will take place on May 6 at Plover Clove.

'This year, I will focus on the half Olympic distance and increase the length of races in coming years. One day, I hope I will be good enough to represent Hong Kong at overseas competitions,' Ka-hung says.