HK triathletes tune up for Singapore Games

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 August, 2010, 12:00am

Triathletes Vincci Hui Wai-sum and Law Leong-tim can hardly wait to travel to Singapore in 10 days to compete in the inaugural Youth Olympic Games.

The pair are part of a squad of 15 athletes who will represent Hong Kong in eight disciplines at the Games.

Both athletes tuned up for the event in yesterday's Age Group Sprint Triathlon at the Science Park in Sha Tin and afterwards voiced their excitement about their forthcoming trip. 'This is obviously a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and so I plan to make the most of it,' said Hui, 17, who will enter Form Seven at Diocesan Girls' School in September. 'I'll be representing my continent as well as Hong Kong, so it's a great honour for me to be able to compete in the Games.'

Hui earned her place in Singapore by virtue of a top-three finish in the Asian Triathlon Championships in South Korea last year. Although hampered by a shoulder injury sustained in a nasty bike crash during training, she fought hard on the bike and in the running phases to win a podium place.

'I was more or less swimming with one arm in the Korean race last year and I was in considerable pain,' added Hui, who placed third in the women's race yesterday. 'I had to concentrate my training on the bike and the run because I couldn't swim, and that paid off on race day.'

Only four male and four female competitors from each continent qualified for the triathlon at the Singapore Youth Olympic Games, which will take place in the Lion City from August 14 to 26. Although triathlon is one of the first sports on the packed programme, all competitors are required to stay for the duration of the Games for cultural exchange programmes.

Among the benefits on offer to the athletes is the opportunity to meet a number of cultural ambassadors, including sprinter Usain Bolt, pole vaulter Yelena Isinbayeva and swimmer Michael Phelps.

Law qualified fifth fastest in South Korea last year but moved up one place when the fourth-ranked male competitor could not take up the invitation. 'Realistically I hope to finish in the top half of the race,' Law, 16, said. 'I started swimming when I was three years old but took up the sport of triathlon only two years ago, so my bike and running capabilities need to improve quite a bit.'

Law said that yesterday's race was more about competitive practice rather than racing, so he was also pleased with a third-place finish.