The government has been asked to explain why it has decided to limit the number of people who can take part in upcoming mass sporting events to 500.
The call came from Dennis Ng, the executive director of the Hong Kong Athletics Affiliates Association (HKAAA) – who canceled this Sunday’s 10 kilometer race at Tin Shui Wai in light of the new rule introduced due to increased Covid numbers.
Ng told an RTHK broadcast on Thursday that the association was informed by the Culture, Sports and Tourism Bureau of the new requirement on Tuesday.
He said the association’s executive committee immediately made counter-suggestions – including dividing the runners into three groups and starting them at different times – but those ideas were rejected by authorities.
Ng said there was no time to make other alternative arrangements that would be fair to the 1,500 people who applied to participate, so they decided to cancel the race and fully refund the cost of candidacy.
He said the government should explain whether the new limit is a general rule, noting that the organizer of the annual swim across the harbor has also said it may have to postpone or cancel this year’s event scheduled for October. after he was also told to reduce the number of participants.
“We may have to ask the government for more details on the policy. Why is it 500 for us and cross border swimming too? I would like to know if the figure is decided on a case by case basis or is it a general requirement? he said, noting that the run would have taken place outside where there is good ventilation.
In a commercial radio broadcast, HKAAA Chairman Kwan Kee said the new rule was not mentioned at all during a meeting with officials on Monday.
He said authorities also asked them to reduce the number of employees and participants in the trail running championships scheduled for next month in Tai Po to 500.
He said the HKAAA was seeking to appeal the decision.
“We hope the government can continue to contact us and review the nature of the matter. We will run in the hills and not rally,” he said.
“The workforce of 500 includes staff. They will not all stay at the starting point. There may be a dozen or so, and the rest will stay along the course to support the runners. Hopefully we can appeal, so to speak,” Kwan said.
He said the cancellations will affect the training of Hong Kong athletes and therefore their performance in international competitions.