Refugees yesterday took to Hong Kong’s trails in one of the newest fixtures in the territory’s busy race calendar as they carve out a place in its running community.
Hong Kong does not give refugees a permanent home in its own territory and they could spend years hoping for sanctuary in a third country, with most cases unsuccessful.
In the meantime, they are unable to work because of government restrictions and subsist on handouts from authorities and non-governmental organizations in a place with spiraling living costs.
However, they have been embraced by Hong Kong’s tight-knit trail running community and regularly compete on its mountainous routes.
Yesterday’s RUN charity race said that refugees were instrumental in organizing the event as well as competing in it.
Now in its second year, 25 refugees, mainly from Africa, lined up in a field of more than 300 people who were running either 14km or 19km distances.
“I love running — if I have any opportunity to do it, I don’t hesitate,” African refugee and competitor Ali, 35, said. “It makes me feel free, have less stress and be healthy.”
Another African refugee and runner, Sam, in her 40s, said the sport was “in her blood” and RUN had given her the opportunity to do it in Hong Kong.
“It makes us feel like we are accepted, it makes us feel like we have another community apart from what we left back home,” she said.
RUN said it seeks to help refugees over trauma through sport, as well as provide education and training.
“When people run alongside refugees, people realize they’re normal people like you and me — all the barriers fall away,” RUN cofounder Virginie Goethals said. “Sport and nature is really a human equalizer.”
Hong Kong resident Joyce Li, 35, who ran yesterday, said she was aware refugees had a “hard time” in the territory and wanted to support them.
There are about 6,000 refugees and asylum seekers in Hong Kong.
“They are always unfairly being associated with human trafficking or abusing welfare,” Li said.
An international refugee Olympic team made a historic debut in Rio in 2016 and a refugee team is to again compete at the Games in Tokyo in 2020.
Kanako Murata seemed destined to represent Japan at the Tokyo Olympics as a freestyle wrestler, but that all changed when she saw MMA icon Ronda Rousey fight. “It was then that I knew what I wanted to do and I have never regretted it for a moment since,” said Murata, now a rising star with the Las Vegas-based UFC. First inspired by Japan’s Olympic wrestling queen Saori Yoshida, Murata had by her early 20s emerged as a junior world freestyle wrestling champion. Then came the night in 2015 that Murata saw the explosive American former UFC bantamweight champion Rousey in action, and
ADVANTAGE: The world No. 4, who has physiotherapist Victoria Kao as his mentor, cheerleader and critic, said he was lucky Taiwan kept COVID-19 at bay for so long It is an unorthodox approach, but Taiwan’s Chou Tien-chen is hoping his decision to go without a coach will help him win badminton gold at the Tokyo Olympic Games. The world No. 4 has flourished since parting ways with a full-time coach in 2019, with his physiotherapist Victoria Kao filling the role of mentor, cheerleader and critic. With Kao in his corner, Chou won his first Super 1000 title at the 2019 Indonesia Open, and lifted the Taipei Open trophy for a record third time. Now Chou, who reached the last eight at Rio 2016, has set his sights on winning Taiwan’s first
At least two people were hospitalized on Tuesday after a Greenpeace protester crash-landed on the pitch before the Germany-France match at UEFA Euro 2020 when his powered parachute microlight struck spidercam cables atthe Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany. The pilot flew over the pitch just before kick-off in the Group F clash with “Kick out oil” written on the canopy of his parachute. However, when the pilot hit television cables above the pitch, it knocked his microlight off balance and he landed on the turf after clipping one of the stands, where the casualties happened. The pilot was arrested soon after landing. A Munich
‘SPECIAL CORNER’: The Serb left the court after losing the first two sets to compose himself just as he had done in his wins over Lorenzo Musetti and Rafael Nadal Novak Djokovic has set his sights on the “Golden Grand Slam” of all four majors and the Olympic title, saying: “Everything is possible.” The world No. 1 on Sunday captured a second French Open and 19th Grand Slam with a 6-7 (6/8), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win over Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas. It allowed him to become the first man in the Open era, and only third in history, to claim all four Grand Slam titles on multiple occasions. Now he has targeted being the third man to complete a calendar Grand Slam after Don Budge in 1937, and Rod Laver in 1962 and