Hong Kong athlete claims ‘sprint’ gold ... at 93 years old

Cheung Suet-ling wins a gold medal at the 2017 World Masters Athletics Championships in Daegu, South Korea

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 March, 2017, 3:32pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 March, 2017, 6:53pm

Showing perfect poise from start to finish, 93-year-old Cheung Suet-ling proved that you’re never too old to bring sporting pride to your home city.

The spritely Cheung claimed a gold medal for Hong Kong on Tuesday at the World Masters Athletics Championships in ­Daegu, South Korea, showing amazing agility for a nonagenarian.

Cheung was running against two other competitors in the women’s 60-metre event – in the under-90 category.

Although she finished third in a time of 25.73 seconds, Cheung was crowned champion because she was the sole competitor in her age group.

Christa Bortignon of Canada, 80, won the race in 10.56 seconds.

Cheung was happy with her gold but said she should have done better.

“I did 25.73 seconds in Daegu which is far from ideal since I clocked 37.29 seconds in the 100 metres in 2016 ,” she said.

“It is partly because I had problems with my back before coming to South Korea and I’m not used to the weather in Daegu. In fact I almost fell down during the competition which was a worry for my teammates.

“Many young runners have said they wanted to learn from me since I can still run at such an age.

“I have an open mind when it comes to taking part in running competition.

“I also want to encourage more old runners to come out of their world and enjoy sports.”

Hong Kong Amateur Athletics Association senior vice-chairman Simon Yeung Sai-mo applauded Cheung’s athletic achievements, saying she had done the city proud.

He said it was the first time the city had won gold in an indoor masters world event, even though Hong Kong has won gold before in an outdoor masters world event.

“Cheung showed that she’s still strong and in good physical condition to take part in an international competition at such a ripe old age. We offer our hearty congratulations to her on her fine achievement,” Yeung said.

Cheung was a housewife and took up the sport because her daughter, Lai Yin-mei, is a runner as well.

It was the third time Cheung had represented Hong Kong in a masters event, and she made sure it was a memorable one.

Former Hong Kong champion Cecilia Tse Wah-sau, running in the women’s 55-60 age group category, finished her race in 8.91 seconds to take fifth place. Joelle Zongo of France won the race in 8.5 seconds.