Silver medallist leading charge for HK marathon swim race

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 07 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 07 October, 2012, 4:10am

London Olympic Games silver medallist Thomas Lurz will spearhead a strong international field when the Panasonic Fina Marathon World Cup takes place in Repulse Bay this morning.

It will be the fourth appearance of the German long distance swimmer in Hong Kong; the 32-year-old won in 2009 and 2011 and came second in 2010.

"I like the Hong Kong race very much and always want to come back," said Lurz. "The course conditions are great, the organisation, the hospitality are fine, making it a good race."

Lurz is fifth overall in the eight-stage series, which finishes in Shantou, China next week.

Swimmers from 13 countries will take about two hours to complete the five-lap, 10-kilometre race.

Lurz faces stiff competition from his fellow countryman Andreas Waschburge, who finished eighth in London and Spyridon Gianniotis of Greece, who finished fourth in London.

In the women's event, German former world champion Angela Maurer is the favourite.

Hong Kong are sending a 10-man, two-woman squad for the US$20,000 event, plus the Shantou leg as build-up for the 5th Asian Open Water Championships to be held from Lei Yue Mun to Sai Wan Ho later this month.

"It will be difficult for Hong Kong swimmers to get [good] results in the world cup," said coach Lai Ming-shun. "But it is going to be a good opportunity for our youngsters to learn."