athletes from 15 countries will take part in the new Hong Kong Inter-City Athletics Challenge at Siu Sai Wan Sports Ground this weekend. Competitors from Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Taipei, Thailand, and the US will line up against Hong Kong's best in the event, formerly known as the Summer Invitational Athletic Meet. 'The objective of the original event was to provide juniors an opportunity to show their talents, but it has rapidly developed into a serious and high standard competition,' said Lee Chi-wing, senior vice-chairman of the Hong Kong Athletic Amateur Association (HKAAA). The event will be given prominence to encourage local athletes in the run-up to the 2009 East Asian Games - the first major multi-sport event ever to be held in Hong Kong. 'In order to prepare our Hong Kong team members for the East Asian Games in 2009, the HKAAA decided to rename this meeting and incorporate a new logo that symbolises the determination of our athletes to overcome barriers and strive to win medals,' Lee said. More than 800 athletes from 15 countries and regions will compete at this weekend's event. A new Hong Kong athletic team will enter the full list of track and field events, which includes 18 events in the men's and 17 events in the women's category. Several juniors have been selected. The criteria for selection is to be ranked in the top two in Hong Kong for an event. The newly-formed team comprises 107 members. Its first major test will be to take on the overseas athletes this weekend. 'The formation of the new Hong Kong team is a breakthrough for local athletic development,' said Lee. 'This is the first time that we have formed a team for all events. In the past, squads were separated into sprinters, distance runners, and field athletes. Now Hong Kong will be represented in every event and be more unified.'