International elite runners from 23 countries
and regions will compete at the Standard Chartered Hong Kong
Marathon 2013 on Sunday (24 February).
Following its upgrade to Silver Label Road Race
status by the International Association of Athletics Federations
(IAAF) the race is more eagerly anticipated than ever, especially
since it has the added prestige of incorporating the 14th Asian
The 14th Asian Marathon Championships, a focus
of this year's event, have attracted 38 top Asian runners to
compete for the titles on offer.
Although defending Men's Champion
Qatar runner Mohammed Abduh Bakhet has had to withdraw due to
injury, the field still contains 2008 Men's Runner-up Bat-Ochir
Ser-Od from Mongolia and Kenzo Kawabata from Japan, and a fierce
battle is expected.
Kim Kum Ok from North Korea, Women's Champion
of 2006 and 2008, will return to Hong Kong to battle for the
title. She will be hard-pushed by Jin Lingling from China and
Andreeva Luliia from Kirghizstan, who has a personal best of 2hr 30min.
Hong Kong runners Lai Hok Yan, Wun Yiu Cheong and Lai Ho Ki
will represent Hong Kong in the men's category; Fan Sui Ping,
Angelina Kong and Chow Chi Ngan will run for Hong Kong in the
Along with the Asian elite
runners, the organizer has also invited overseas runners from
countries such as Ethiopia and Kenya, renowned for their distance
athletes. Adding to the excitement is the return of the top three
men's marathon runners from 2012. Last year, Dereje Abera Ali from
Ethiopia, Julius Kiplimo Maisei and James Kariuki Mbugua from
Kenya crossed the finish line almost neck and neck, with all three
breaking the record set in 1998 by Wolashe Belay. They will once
again jostle for the champion's title this year, in what is sure
to prove a gripping battle. Morocco athlete in the field is Rachid
Kisri has a personal best time of 2:06:48. He poses a genuine
title threat to last year's top three, and has the potential to
break Ali's record from last year of 2:11:27.
Speaking of his
title defense this year, Ali said, "It will be of course very
challenging. Last year I won by barely a second. With more and
more top runners now competing in the Hong Kong Marathon, I will
have to perform at my very best to repeat my win."
Misiker Demissie from Ethiopia was last year's women's Marathon
champion, while Shitaye Gemechu from Ethiopia and Winfred Nyansikera from Kenya were runners-up. All three are back for this
year's race. Including Demissie and Gemechu, four female runners
in the field have personal best times of under 2 hours 27 minutes,
three minutes faster than the current event record. The race is
expected to be one of the most enthralling ever.
"We have been
constantly striving to improve the organization of the marathon
and the caliber of runners," said Hong Kong Amateur
Athletic Association Chairman, Mr Kwan Kee. "Our efforts have
proved worthwhile, with the race being upgraded to a Silver Label
Road Race and also this year incorporating the 14th Asian Marathon
Championships, which have attracted 38 elite athletes from 20
Asian countries and regions. I would like to thank the
international runners who have supported us ... I wish them and our local distance runners the very
best of luck and a great marathon experience."
Hong Kong elite runners are expected to perform with credit in the
other events, with women's Half Marathon defending champion Yiu
Kit Ching looking forward to repeating her win. The 2012 men's
Half Marathon winner Gi Ka Man will be competing in the Marathon
this year, giving Hong Kong-based Kiprotich Thomas, the 2011 Half
Marathon Champion and 2012 1st runner up, an even better chance of
returning to the top step of the podium. Champion of the 2012
men's 10 km race Chan Ka Ho will also be striving to retain his
Additional events will include the Leaders
Cup, Corporate Challenge, SME Marathon Cup, Disciplined Forces
Cup, the 2nd 3km wheelchair race, as well as a Half Marathon
wheelchair race being held for the first time.
Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon has received international
Silver Label Road Race recognition, and the total prize money on
offer has been raised to US$258,400.
High Res Still Photography
from 2013 Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon.
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