A 20-strong team of local veteran athletes will depart for South Africa today in an attempt to become the first international medal winners of the new Special Administrative Region. Together with a squad of 10 supporters, the SAR team will compete in the World Veterans' Athletic Championships, which will be staged in Durban. The championships are open to men over the age of 40 and women over 35. The first event of the two-week programme will be the cross-country competition, and expectations are high that the Hong Kong women's team of Yuko Gordon, Sheila Purves and reigning Hong Kong cross-country champion Gillian Castka can make a mark. All three athletes have considerable international experience and will go into the event with a high degree of confidence following a successful winter racing season. In the last championships in Brisbane two years ago, Castka won an individual silver medal in the steeple chase, and an individual bronze in cross-country. The territory also won a team silver in cross-country. The SAR team will field athletes from a wide range of age groups and in a variety of events from the 100-metre sprint to the 42.2-kilometre marathon. Yip Lun-ming, having now moved up into the 75-years-and-over age group, is another member of the SAR team expected to do well at the games, and should challenge strongly for a medal in the men's marathon, the final event of the games on July 27. The South African city, going through winter, is expecting temperatures of below 20 degrees Celsius and moderate humidity, which is ideal for athletics.