The 3rd Asian Youth Athletics Championships got underway today at the Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground, with one Hong Kong teenage runner Hannah Ho Kin-ling setting a new record in the Girls’ 400 metre event.
Heep Yunn School student Hannah,16, beat her old personal best time and broke a local junior record in the Girls’ 400 metre heat event, finishing in seventh place with a time of 57.10 seconds.
She said to achieve a record-breaking time was totally unexpected, as the original target set by her coach was just slightly under 58 seconds. She said competing against some of the finest junior runners in Asia brought out her best effort.
“Knowing that my competitors are really strong and my chance of being in the top three was rather slim, it actually allowed me to compete with a more relaxed attitude,” Hannah said. “I started off with my own pacing, but toward the end I used my willpower to follow the runners in front of me.”
As she qualified into the final, which will take place in the afternoon tomorrow, her goal is to try moving one rank up, and to complete the race under 57 seconds.
“I hope I can surpass the ones who have a finishing time that is slightly faster than me, but I will be more than happy to keep my seventh place,” she said.
Meanwhile in the Boys’ 110m hurdles, Hong Kong’s Rico Cheung Siu-hang lost by 0.04 seconds and missed the chance to score a medal for the city. He finished in fourth place with a final time of 13.78 seconds, which is his new personal best record. The Wah Yan College student said he was too easily affected by other contestants and messed up his own pacing toward the end.
“I had an early lead, but others began to catch up and I just wanted to chase after them,” the Form Four student said.
When asked if he was disappointed by the result, the 16-year-old said the close defeat serves as a good experience for him to get a taste of what it is like to compete at an Asian youth championships, and to overcome his weaknesses.
“I’m a bit disappointed, but I realise how my mentality is not mature enough. It is a problem I need to solve as soon as possible,” he said. “Next time when I represent Hong Kong again, I will be more focused.”
It is the first time Hong Kong has hosted this biennual championship, which features over 600 athletes from more than 30 Asian countries. The city has sent a total of 62 athletes to compete on home soil this year.