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Swimmers wait for the start of the Cross Harbour Race in December, 2021. Photo: Sam Tsang

Hong Kong swimming bosses given go ahead for next month’s Harbour Race, aiming to have around 1,500 participants

  • Government has approved plan after organisers agree to leave swimmers in groups of no more than 500 including working staff
  • Race will follow same course as last year, leaving from Wan Chai and finishing in Tsim Sha Tsui on Oct 23

Organisers of the New World Harbour Race have been given approval by the Hong Kong government to hold the event next month, with online registration opening at 11am on Saturday.

However, the city’s Covid-19 restrictions mean the number of swimmers allowed will be capped at 1,500 people, the same as last year, with those taking part expected to leave in waves of 500 at a time including working staff. The organisers wanted to increase the entries to 2,000 but the plan was rejected by the government.

Cross Harbour Race organisers expect government green light this week

New World Development is again sponsoring the popular race, and officials said double Olympic silver medallist, Siobhan Haughey, and Hong Kong team swimmer Kevin Chu had signed on as ambassadors.

Last year’s Harbour Race with participants starting in Wan Chai Public Pier. Photo: Sam Tsang

“I am very happy to be appointed the New World Harbour Race ambassador this year, hoping to encourage more people to join the important event,” Haughey said. “Swimming in the spectacular Victoria Harbour will be a memorable experience and I hope to bring more positive energy for Hong Kong through promoting the interest of swimming and sharing of my happy involvement in the sport.”

The race will take place on October 23, with Hong Kong Swimming Association planning to start at Golden Bauhinia Square public pier in Wan Chai and finish at the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Hong Kong logs over 7,800 new Covid cases; concern grows over coming events

Organisers will take stringent Covid-19 preventive measures as agreed with the government under the pandemic. Contestants must comply with the vaccine pass requirements set out in the latest government guidelines.

They also need to take government recognised Covid-19 PCR tests when collecting race kit, which will be 48 hours before the event.

In addition, swimmers will be required to submit electronic health declaration forms, and provide proof of a negative RAT test before entering the venue on race day.

2021 Harbour Race in Victoria Harbour. Photo: Sam Tsang

“We would like to express our gratitude to New World Development for their unremitting sponsorship over the years, and to the relevant government departments and other organisations for their support and cooperation, without which we would not be able to organise the New World Harbour Race,” Ronnie Wong Man-chiu, the swimming association’s president, said.

“Aside from providing swimmers with an opportunity to get together and compete, it is also our wish that the New World Harbour Race provides an opportunity for people all over the city to experience the happiness and vitality of swimming.”

Two swimmers at the 2021 Harbour Race. Photo: Sam Tsang

The swim will again be split into leisure and racing groups, with time trials for those wanting to be in the latter taking place on October 1 and 2 at La Salle College Swimming Pool, and Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park Swimming Pool respectively.

With limited numbers, online registration will open on Saturday 11am and close on September 23 at 11.59pm, with results of the ballot to be announced at 11am on September 28.