The New World Harbour Race – one of Hong Kong’s most popular sport- ing events – has received a record-breaking almost 5,000 applicants this year, the highest number since the race resumed seven years ago after a 33-year hiatus. Organised by the Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Associ- ation and sponsored by New World Development Company Limited, the race will see competitors swimming across the waters of Victoria Harbour at 8am on Sunday, 21st October 2018.
Named as this year’s New World Harbour Race Ambassadors, well-known actor Alex Fong and popular actress Michelle Wai have been photographed sporting an athleisure swimsuit look to bring to life the theme of the event’s 2018 ad campaign – #wavemaker – which pays tribute to the courage and hard work of the partici- pants.
Also the theme of this year’s race, #wavemaker embodies the idea that swimmers are fearless in the water, and possess a strong spirit and an adventurous attitude. The ads capture the moment when swimmers dive into the water, symbolising the start of the 1,000m cross-harbour swimming challenge, which tests swimmers’ physical endurance, technique and determination.
Former Hong Kong swim team member and onetime Hong Kong record-holder Alex Fong aims to promote swimming to the wider public in his role as a New World Harbour Race Ambassador. Fong says that the concept of the #wavemaker campaign resonated with him: “Swimming is not only a sport but a desire to achieve breakthroughs in life. Training for this sport taught me about the importance of perseverance. I hope that people can enjoy the sport, while embracing its true spirit.”
For Michelle Wai, it is her second consecutive year as a New World Harbour Race Ambassador. Wai, who will take part in this year’s competition, says she hopes to challenge herself once again and better last year’s rec- ord: “Artists strive for breakthroughs just like swimmers do. I want to challenge myself by participating again in the harbour race, a task that I once considered impossible.”
Cheung Sum In and Chan Chit Mark – two young swimmers from the New World-sponsored Springboard pro- gramme – are also featured in the photoshoot. The New World Group has long been dedicated to supporting the development of local sports, launching the New World Swimming Academy with the Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association in 2012 through its sustainable community development programme, New World Springboard. The programme offers seven years of free swimming training to children from low-income fami- lies, providing a platform for fostering budding swimming stars. These young swimmers participating in the New World Harbour Race are proof positive of the programme’s success.
2018 has seen an 11% increase in applicants for the New World Harbour Race from last year, with more than4,000 people applying for the Leisure Group, which has 3,000 places, and over 800 people applying for the Racing Group, which has a quota of 600 places. Following the time trial, which took place earlier this month, a public draw was held on 14th September at Olympic House in which participants in the Racing and Leisure Groups were randomly selected by computer. The final participant lists are now available to view on the New World Harbour Race Website.
The New World Harbour Race route stretches from Tsim Sha Tsui Public Pier to Wan Chai Golden Bauhinia Square Public Pier, a distance of approximately 1,000m. The Hong Kong public is expected to turn out in force to support the 3,600 racers who will be swimming across Victoria Harbour on the day. The race has also been recognised again this year by the HKSAR government as one of its prestigious “M” Mark Events.