SCHOOLBOY Daniel Lee Chi-wo earned the highest acclaim in his short but distinguished association with triathlon when he was named the Most Improved Male Triathlete for 1993 last week.
The 16-year-old took up the sport only nine months ago, finishing third among the juniors in his maiden race, and has since improved an astonishing 16 minutes for the Olympic distance (1.5 km swim, 45 km bike and 10 km run).
Daniel quickly caught the attention of the Hong Kong Triathlon Association selectors, and made his international debut at the Asian Championships in Tianjin, China.
He did exceedingly well to finish a creditable fifth in the junior (under-19) category, despite competing against older and more experienced rivals.
Daniel beat five other nominees for the award - Don Bozarth, James Hartwright, Cheung Man-ho, Andy Leung and Yuen Wai-kit.
''Picking up this award is an encouragement for me to train harder and achieve better results for Hong Kong at international races,'' said the shy Chiu Lut Sau Memorial Secondary School student.
Daniel started taking swimming lessons when he was eight, and is a Division One age group swimmer, competing under the Sea Lion colours.
He also excels in middle distance running, and has won numerous honours for his school in track and cross-country events.
''My weakest routine in the triathlon is cycling, which I took up seriously only after my first triathlon race last May,'' he said.
Daniel underlined his power in swimming and running with an easy victory in the under-20 category at the aquathon race on Saturday, completing the 750 m swim and 5 km run in 33 minutes and 43 seconds.
His time was second overall only to undisputed Hong Kong triathlon ''king'' Ian Rayson, winner of the Open division in 31:06. Cheung Man-yiu captured the women's under-20 crown in 42:22.
Hau Yuen-cheung came first in the boys' under-14 category, completing the 400 m swim and 3 km run in 18:30. Kiri Brownlee was the girls' champion in 22:04.