Wang Kun outshines comeback kid Gi Ka-man, but it’s smiles all round at Hong Kong half marathon
Macau-based Chinese runner claims win over 21.0975 kilometres by over a minute, with former Hong Kong poster boy happy just to finish after injury struggles
Hong Kong’s Gi Ka-man crossed the finishing line some 10 minutes behind men’s half marathon winner Wang Kun from China, but it was a victory of sorts for the former poster boy of local road running.
The Hong Kong half marathon record holder won the event in 2012, but then missed the next two editions due to persistent knee and leg injuries.
Gi’s time of one hour, 18 minutes and three seconds on Sunday was just over 11 and a half minutes outside of his Hong Kong record for the 21.0975 kilometres, but it is another step in the right direction for the 33-year-old.
“I felt a bit of tightness in my calf last week when I did a half marathon in Japan and it was very cold, so maybe that was why,” said Gi.
“It’s been a frustrating time with injuries, but I still think I can get back to my best. I did the first 10k in about 32 minutes before my calves tightened.
“Definitely not unhappy. I have a marathon in Japan next month and that is the main target, but I love this race, I’ve been coming for nearly 20 years since 99 - even though I can never get the record because it’s too hard.”
Wang crossed the line in 1:08:52 to claim the top step on the podium for a second time having secured victory in 2014, while the Macau-based teacher has also enjoyed other previous successes in Hong Kong having won the Mizuno half marathon in 2014 and Asics 10k Challenge in 2015.
“I feel very good about winning,” said Wang, who finished second last year. “The goal for this year is the Universiade in Taiwan and then maybe the Olympic Games, but I need to work harder. I am only 24 so I have time.”
Wang finished 1:19 ahead of last years winner and two-time defending champion, China’s Li Shaozhuang, with Wan Cheuk-hei a further 13 seconds back in third.
Taiwan’s You Ya-jyun is also hoping for success on home soil at August’s Universiade, an international multi-sport event organised for university athletes, having claimed an impressive victory in the women’s half marathon on Sunday in a time of 1:18:14.
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“This year the focus is to qualify for the world university games, and next year I will change to the full marathon and aim for Tokyo 2020,” said 26-year-old You, who is a member of the Taiwan national team and student at the National Taiwan Sport University.
“The weather and the route was very nice and I ran a personal best. I ran a personal best two weeks ago in Osaka, and now another as I am really focused on August in Taipei.”
Cho Shek-man claimed second just under three minutes back, with Luo Bingsheng third a further six minutes adrift.