The Arnold Classic is coming to Hong Kong.
Founded by Hollywood star and former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, the multisport festival has flexed its muscles since launching in 1989 as a bodybuilding competition. Staged in various locations around the globe, the event challenges both professionals and all-comers in competitions that range from chess and the Rubik's cube to table tennis, arm wrestling, tai chi and martial arts. Also included are workshops on the latest health and wellness trends.
Hong Kong will be the "permanent home of the Arnold Classic Asia", says Richard Petty, who is responsible for bringing the festival to the continent for the first time. "We'll be back," he could have said, as the event will be staged here annually.
In the past year, Arnold Classic festivals in the United States, Europe, South America, South Africa and Australia have attracted more than 500,000 visitors and 30,000 athletes with more than 55 sports and events.
Demonstrations at a recent press conference gave a taste of what promises to be "an action-packed weekend of strength, endurance, fitness and agility for the body and mind" at AsiaWorld-Expo. Rugby will be played for the first time at an Arnold Classic here and Hong Kong players started the event with a demonstration of passing. They were followed by fencers, muay thai and kung fu martial artists, CrossFit athletes and a rope-skipping team.
"Arnold will come in person each year," Petty promises. For the most devoted fans, the Ultimate VIP ticket (HK$5,835) includes a photograph with Schwarzenegger.
"Fitness teaches you things you could never learn in a classroom or boardroom," said Schwarzenegger, who made a brief video appearance at the press conference.
The Arnold Classic Asia will be held at AsiaWorld-Expo from August 19 to 21, providing a diversion from the Rio Olympics, which culminate that weekend. For more information, visit arnoldclassicasia.com For tickets, go to www.hkticketing.com.