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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Open Water Swimmers Replace Raw Sewage In Hong Kong

For 60 years between 1912 and 1978, the Hong Kong Cross-Harbour Swim (first started in 1906) was the highlight for open water swimmers in one of the world's most renowned harbours (see below).

Its revival, back after 30 years, is called the New World Harbour Race and was initially announced in 2010 due to a dramatic improvement in water quality in Victoria Harbour.

From Lei Yue Mun to Quarry Bay, east of the central harbour, the efforts of many environmentalists supported by government action led to raw sewage and heavy pollution replaced by cleaner waters and 1,000 swimmers taking part in the 1.8K New World Cross Harbour Race.

Some environmental groups warned there is still work to be done in order to reduce high bacteria levels, but 105 years after the annual race was first started 18-year-old Ling Tin-yu took the top honours among swimmers ages 12 to 68.

The 1.8K course stretched from Sam Ka Tsuen Public Landing in Lei Yue Mun to Quarry Bay Park where four fields competed: Men's Individual (548 swimmers), Women's Individual (167 swimmers), Men's Team (72 teams) and Women's Team (23 teams).

Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association Honourable Secretary Ronnie Wong said, "The cross harbor swim is one of the city's most exciting sporting events which is also perhaps the most representative of the spirit of Hong Kong. In past years, members of the community took great pride in having taken part in the race and challenging themselves to achieve their own personal new records. The New World Harbour Race 2011 has received an overwhelming response. The outstanding support from the community for our athletes will give us momentum to further develop and evolve this iconic sporting event."

It is great to see open water swimmers - similar to canaries in the coal mines - become indicators of better environmental conditions in the world's waterways.

Copyright © 2011 by Open Water Source

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