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Sexual harassment and assault

‘MeToo’ incident has made me stronger, says Hong Kong hurdler Vera Lui five months after revelations of sexual abuse by a former coach 

Competing for the first time since disclosing that she was a victim of a sexual assault, the 23-year-old breezes to an easy victory in the 100m hurdles

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 15 April, 2018, 8:04pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 15 April, 2018, 11:05pm

Refreshed, happy and definitely in-form, Vera Lui Lai-yiu says she has come back stronger in her first 100m hurdles race after her “Me Too” incident shocked the city five months ago when she posted on her Facebook page that she was a victim of sexual abuse.

Competing in the Athletic Series Three, she easily won the women’s 100m hurdles in 13.58 seconds, just 0.02 seconds off her personal best but the 23-year-old was a winner long before she started the race at Wan Chai Sports Ground.

Five months after disclosing she was a victim of an alleged sexual assault by her former school coach 10 years ago, the 23-year-old hurdler said she was ready to put her darkest episode behind her.

“It was a difficult period for me as I had to overcome the pressure from different parts of society after the disclosure of my ‘Me Too’ experience,” said the champion. “But I can also say the incident has made me a stronger person and what I have done over these months, I have stayed true to myself.”

‘Brave’ Vera Lui Lai-yiu praised by Hong Kong sports official for telling world about sexual assault

She was last in action winning gold at the 2017 Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in September and she stayed true to form by crossing the line first in her pet event on the final day of the local athletic series. Her time was slightly slower than her personal best set in the Asia Grand Prix series in Taipei 12 months ago.

“This is my first race in seven months and I am so happy my form is still there. I didn’t expect to win in such an impressive time as normally I don’t perform that well in my opening race of the season.”

Lui, who has also recovered from a knee injury, added: “The weather was not favourable with some rain and my knees played up a bit after two warm-up races in the 100 metres the previous day. Also the warm-up area was very congested with other athletes as there were three hurdle races going on. But it did not matter as everything in Wan Chai Ground is so familiar to me so that I could run a good race.”

“The long break [from competition] also helped because it allowed me time to build my core muscles and improve my hip mobility which I had little time to do before because of my busy schedule.”

Lui will race again at next month’s Hong Kong Championships and the Taiwan Open before attending a training camp in Japan. There will also be other overseas races in the build-up towards the Asian Games in Indonesia this summer, which is the ultimate target of most of Hong Kong’s top athletes this year.

“The result today has given me a big boost as I look forward to improving my time to around 13.3 seconds this year ... It won’t be easy to improve this time,” she said.

Lui made headlines last year when she disclosed on social media on her 23-year-old birthday in November that she was sexually abused by her former school coach when she was 13.

Hong Kong hurdler Vera Lui’s former coach arrested for indecent assault

Meanwhile, Chan Chung-wang, who set a Hong Kong record in the men’s 110-metre hurdles in the Singapore Open last week, continued his winning form by clocking14.14 seconds. 

Rival Cheung Wang-fung finished second in 14.20 seconds while Ang Chen Xiang of Singapore was third in a time of 14.42.