This weekend’s Hong Kong Athletics Championships have been postponed amid the latest pandemic restrictions, but organisers are trying to work out a diversified format to keep the Olympic dream going. The national championships are considered a category B event under World Athletics rules that can offer an additional 100 ranking points to the winner. And this can help improve the athletes’ world ranking as local athletes such as Vera Lui Lai-yiu, Chan Ming-tai and Yue Ya-xin aim to earn a ticket to qualify for the Tokyo Games. “We understand it would be difficult for us to stage the event this weekend under the current pandemic situation,” said Hong Kong Association of Athletic Affiliates chairman Kwan Kee. “But we still aim to stage the annual event this year so that we can have another national championships in 2021 to provide our athletes more opportunities to secure additional ranking points. “We are still in discussion with the government’s Home Affairs Bureau and the understanding is that we have to reduce the number of people inside the stadium to maintain a safer environment and minimise the possibility of infection when we stage the event. It may therefore take three or four days to finish the entire championships but we still want to stage it.” Athletics officials ask government to allow major event to go ahead Kwan said they might allow 50 people, including athletes and officials at one time inside the venue within a period of two hours before changing it with another group of 50 people for another two-hour session. “We hope the pandemic development can improve in the next couple of days so that the government can reconsider our situation and reopen the venue for the competition [to be held] behind closed doors,” said Kwan. “The national championships are very important to our athletes and we have already told the athletes to be on standby even if we cannot have it this weekend because we might hold it later this month.” The two-day event at Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground was first scheduled in May but was pushed back to December following the pandemic outbreak early this year. Organisers want less restriction on next month’s Athletics Championships Hurdler Lui and long jumper Yue have not raced on the international stage since March after returning from a training and competition stint in Brisbane. During the period, they only took part in a home Trials Meeting in early November and Lui’s world ranking has dropped to 90th as a result. While Hong Kong athletes have stopped competition due to the pandemic, many of their Asian counterparts continue to compete. One of Lui’s biggest regional rivals, Hsieh Hsi-En, of Taiwan, has been having regular competitions in her homeland, including taking part in the Taiwan National Championships in Taipei early this month, which is considered also a category B event by World Athletics. Hsieh is ranked just ahead of Lui at 89.