Watsons Athletic Club Held the First Large-scale Athletics Competition in Hong Kong Since the Pandemic & Attracted Over 2,800 Participants

Watsons Athletic Club Held the First Large-scale Athletics Competition in Hong Kong Since the Pandemic & Attracted Over 2,800 Participants

The Watsons Athletic Club Annual Challenge 2021 (the Annual Challenge) was held from 1 to 3 October 2021 in the Wan Chai Sports Ground. This was the first large-scale athletics competition in Hong Kong since the pandemic, attracting over 2,800 participants across 33 events.

The Annual Challenge has been held since 2009, and is a signature event of Watsons Athletic Club (WAC) established by A.S. Watson Group. Sanctioned by Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates (HKAAA), the race has been regarded as the athletic event for local youngsters with the highest performance marks. The Annual Challenge aims to promote the development of local youth participation in track and field sports by providing youngsters with a high-quality competition platform, so that they can realise their potential and show their competence. Throughout the years, WAC has been a breeding ground for many athletic elites, with over 1,000 club members, among which 52 are athlete and coach members of the Hong Kong Athletics Team.

The events of the Annual Challenge were offered by gender under 6 separate age groups across a total of 13 track events, 6 field events and 2 relay events*, through which the level of athletic sport can be enhanced. To further step-up on the progress in children’s track and field sport, WAC has been organising “Kid’s Athletics Challenge” since 2012, with due reference to the children’s track and field development model of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

This year, WAC invited Jessica Ching, Hong Kong Race-walking representative in the Tokyo Olympics, to attend the Annual Challenge. Jessica has been a member of WAC since 2014. This was her first public appearance since returning from the Tokyo Olympics, joining the day as guest presenter for the ‘Best Athlete Award”, and offer her words of encouragement to winners, commending their efforts in pursuing sport excellence.

Malina Ngai, CEO of A.S. Watson Group (Asia & Europe) said, “The Olympic Games and the National Games have brought Hong Kong into a state of sporting frenzy. We are glad to witness Jessica, also a Watsons Athletic Club member, to represent Hong Kong for Race-walking in the Tokyo Olympics. On top of that, she inspires the Club’s younger generation of athletes with her participation as the guest presenter at our Annual Challenge. Outstanding athletes more often begin to shine since their youth, and seeing athletes like Jessica assures us that Watsons Athletic Club is on the right track in supporting the new generation of athletes and our Annual Challenge is a superb platform for them to gain experience. I was once a member of the Hong Kong Athletics Team, and it is therefore my aspiration to see Watsons Athletic Club helping to nurture more outstanding athletes, who go on to represent Hong Kong with pride.”

Marina Tsui, Senior Community Relations Manager of A.S. Watson Group, is responsible for organising the Annual Challenge, “We hope the success of the event will encourage more athletics clubs and schools to organise competitions for athletes. It is urgent that athletes are given chance to go back to normal training and competitions in order to catch up with the performance standards.”

Jessica Ching, Hong Kong Race-walking representative for the Tokyo Olympics said, “The Watsons Athletic Club Annual Challenge is one of the largest track and field meet in Hong Kong, and I am thrilled to be attending the first large-scale athletics competition since the pandemic struck. Seeing young athletes make the best out of this opportunity to compete is especially encouraging. My heart goes to all the youngsters here, have a big heart and go after your dreams! Do not hold back when you are challenged; because challenges are for us to overcome. Keep your heads up and chase after your ambitions; the world is waiting for us to just give it a try!”

Best Athlete Award Winners:
Chiu Wai Yan U20
Lee Man Chi U18
Li Tsz To U16
Lam Yin Tung U14
Ma Hoi Ki U12
Tin Hiu Ching U10

Leung Tak Yeung U20
Chau Choi Yeung U18
Chan Yui Fung U16
Wang Nok Wang U14
Lau Hoi Tsun U12
Chan Chak Pong Matthias U10

Hong Kong Record-breaking Events:
Men’s U20 Discus Throw (1.75kg) – Wong Kwan Yu 45.79m (Previous record: 44.34m)
Men’s U18 400m Hurdles (0.838m) – Tsang Kin Ho 54.57s (Previous record: 55.16s)
Men’s U18 Triple Jump – Cheung Wing Lok 14.49m (Previous record: 14.45m)

*Events include 60m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1500m, 3000m, 5000m, 100m Hurdles, 110m Hurdles, 400m Hurdles, 2000m Steeplechase, 3000m Steeplechase, High Jump, Long Jump, Triple Jump, Shot Put, Discus, Javelin and Kids’ Challenge Races.