Bigger, fairer and safer: annual cross-harbour swim race tries to avoid last year’s debacle

New measures such as a diving pontoon to ease congestion and a clearer starting line expected

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 October, 2016, 8:24pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 12 October, 2016, 11:22pm

Swimmers in the annual cross-harbour race taking place this Sunday can expect a fairer and safer competition with new measures to avoid a debacle like last year’s, according to organiser Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association.

The race on October 16 will be one of the largest ever, with 3,000 swimmers starting from Sam Ka Tsuen pier in Lei Yue Mun, Kowloon, and ending at the Quarry Bay Park pier across the harbour on Hong Kong Island.

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The association disqualified 48 swimmers last year for starting one to two hundred metres ahead of others, while swimmers hit back, claiming that poor management by the organiser led to difficulties in hearing the instructions.

“We had some misunderstandings last year,” David Chiu Chin-hung, honorary secretary of the association, admitted. But he said they were striving to provide a better race this year.

Swimmers can expect a new 30-metre long pontoon to step on before diving into the open waters. With the floating platform, congestion was expected to be eased. The starting line would also be demarcated more clearly, unlike in previous years, so swimmers would not be confused, Chiu said.

Despite the controversy last year, 500 more places were added to the leisure group event this year to allow a total of 2,400 amateur swimmers aged 12 or above to join. Quotas for international and open groups remained at 100 each.

The 1.5km race will start at 8.30am on Sunday.