Sports in Hong Kong
Major Sporting Events / Badminton / Baseball / Basketball / Bowling / Cricket / Cycling / Equestrian / Football (Soccer) / Golf / Martial Arts / Multi-Sport Tournaments / Rock Climbing and Bouldering / Rowing / Rugby / Running / Sailing / Squash / Swimming / Table Tennis / Tennis / Triathlons / Volleyball / Water Sports / Sports for People with Disabilities
Running (Road and Trail)
Although Hong Kong’s congested, narrow sidewalks make for unpleasant running, there are more than a few places one can jog that are relatively free of obstructions. Here are a few well-known paths:
- Bowen Road Fitness Trail
- Lugard Road at The Peak
- Central and Western District Promenade
- Quarry Bay Promenade
- Ma On Shan to Sha Tin Promenade
- Sha Tin to Tai Po Promenade
HKRunning has a database containing dozens more tried-and-true routes for road and trail runners.
If you prefer something off the concrete, Hong Kong’s mountain trails offer exciting and varied terrain for running along with beautiful views of the city. While there are plenty of casual trail runners in Hong Kong, there is also a thriving community of runners who relish the challenge of races like the overnight MoonTrekker race (featuring three courses of up to 50km and some of Lantau’s toughest terrain) and the Oxfam Trailwalker (see below).
Training Runs and Meetups
There are many running clubs in Hong Kong that lead regular training runs and organize events for the running community. Here are a few of the most active:
For serious amateur runners, a list of running clubs affiliated with the Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association is available on the HKAAA website.
Hong Kong also has several running clubs that carry on the British colonial tradition of hashing. Members of groups like HK Hash House Harriers gather to chase the trail of a human fox, who sets a course of about 6-9k through Hong Kong’s mountain paths. The faster runners end up retracing their steps, providing a natural handicapping system to ensure the entire rabble arrive more or less together at a rendezvous point generously stockpiled with beer. Not for everyone, but it can be addictive. The Wanchai Hash has a list of hashes in Hong Kong.
AVOHK, which stands for Athletic Veterans of Hong Kong, organizes several distinctive races, including a 5k series on Hong Kong Island, the China Coast Marathon and Half Marathon, and a 64-km “Round the Island” time trial.
The Hong Kong Amateur Athletic Association (HKAAA) oversees track & field, road races, cross-country and race walking in Hong Kong. In addition to organizing the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon (see below), the HKAAA selects the Hong Kong team for the Olympics, Asian Games, and other international competitions.
HKRun has a list of trail and road races and a database of results.
TGR Trail Running organizes trail races (both virtual and actual) across Asia Pacific, including family, team and pairs categories. Their most popular race is the Pottinger GreenRace in Shek O.
The Trail Runners Association of Hong Kong is dedicated to the promotion of trail running in Hong Kong. They organize educational events for runners, liaise with the public and the government, and serve as Hong Kong’s representative to the International Trail Running Association. Their website has a race calendar.
Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon
The annual Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon has grown astoundingly in scale since its launch in 1997. It began as a cross-border race from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, symbolizing the return of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to China, which back then attracted just over 1,000 runners. Today, the marathon boasts the highest participation rate of any public sports event in the territory. The event includes a full marathon, a half marathon, a 10k and two wheelchair races; each route showcases the city’s distinct landmarks.
The Trailwalker was formerly an endurance training exercise for soldiers stationed in Hong Kong. In 1986, Oxfam became one of the co-organizers, and at the same time the event was opened to the public. It is now one of the largest fundraising sporting events in Hong Kong. Participants have raised millions to support Oxfam’s various poverty alleviation and emergency relief projects in Africa and Asia, including in Hong Kong and mainland China. Participants form teams of four to complete the 100-km MacLehose Trail within a 48-hour time limit. Many mixed and corporate teams compete in this grueling event, with some running straight through the night in order to finish the trail which starts in Sai Kung and ends in Yuen Long.
With 1178 kilometers of coastline, it’s not surprising that Hong Kong has a wealth of clubs and associations dedicated to the sport of sailing. The Hong Kong Sailing Federation has a list of recognized teaching centers in Hong Kong. Some clubs, such as the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and the Hebe Haven Yacht Club, allow nonmembers to join training classes.
Hong Kong Squash promotes the development of squash in Hong Kong with the organization of local and international competitions. They also represent Hong Kong in membership of the World Squash Federation, Asian Squash Federation and Olympic Committee. Every year, the Hong Kong Squash Open attracts top players from around the world.
Swimming is a popular and inexpensive way to keep fit in Hong Kong, especially during the hot and humid summer months. The Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association is the governing body for all swimming sports in Hong Kong, including swimming, diving, water polo, artistic (synchronized) swimming and open-water swimming.
All public swimming pool complexes are maintained by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department. Some public pools offer additional features for children like water slides, splash pools and water play equipment.
Some LSCD-managed swimming pools are closed from the winter months of November to April. Other establishments, such as the YMCA and various private members’ clubs, have heated outdoor and indoor pools that are open year-round.
A list of public swimming facilities is listed on the Leisure and Cultural Services Department website.
Sometimes, a crowded 25-meter swimming pool just isn’t going to cut it, especially for those after a summer tan. Granted, Hong Kong can’t compete with the likes of Hawaii or Australia’s Gold Coast when it comes to sand and surf, but the city boasts a surprising number of well-maintained private and public beaches, some ideal for swimming.
Public beaches in Hong Kong are managed by the LCSD, and have showers, changing facilities and lifeguards on duty. A complete list of locations is available on the LCSD website.
The Open Water Swimmers of Hong Kong (OWSHK) holds weekly swims and races at beaches around Hong Kong.
Open Water Asia organizes open-water swimming events like the Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim (see below).
Clean Half Extreme Marathon Swim
One of the most famous open-water swimming events in Asia, The Clean Half is a 15-km extreme marathon swim from Stanley Main Beach to Deep Water Bay. The race may be completed by one swimmer or in a relay of four swimmers. It requires contestants to not only compete for time, but also to navigate their way through open choppy waters by following marker buoys set along the coast of the south side of Hong Kong Island.
New World Harbour Race
Participants in the New World Harbour Race (widely known as the Cross Harbour Race), organized by the Hong Kong Amateur Swimming Association, swim from the public pier at Golden Bauhinia Square in Wan Chai to the Avenue of Stars in Tsim Sha Tsui. The race was suspended for many years due to pollution in Victoria Harbour, but was revived in 2011 and enjoys “M” mark status, attracting thousands of participants.
Table tennis has always been an amateur leisure sport in Hong Kong. Table tennis competition and club play regained popularity after Ko Lai Chak and Li Ching — two Hong Kong table tennis champions — won the silver medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The Hong Kong Table Tennis Association governs training, competitions and the local activity of players and clubs. Table tennis tables at LCSD facilities can be booked via the LCSD Leisure Link.
Tennis in Hong Kong in the 19th century was regarded as a leisure activity for wealthy expatriates. Not until the first few years of the 20th century did any kind of competitive tennis take place. In 1911, the first National Grass Court Men’s Singles Championship was played at the Hong Kong Cricket Club. From there, 1918 saw the first victory of a Chinese player, Ng Sze Kwong, who then went on to win six successive titles. By 1938, there were 72 courts on Hong Kong Island and over 80 in Kowloon, although the game of tennis remained a privilege available only to a wealthy minority.
Today, it has become widespread in Hong Kong, with leagues and tournaments for all age groups held throughout the year. There are 41 affiliated clubs, some 260 tennis courts available to the public, and many more belonging to private organizations and housing estates.
Prudential Hong Kong Tennis Open
The Prudential Hong Kong National Tennis Open is another one of the city’s major sporting events, as indicated by its “M” mark status. Sponsored by Prudential and organized by the Hong Kong Tennis Association, the tournament attracts tennis fans and top female players from all over the world.
The Hong Kong Triathlon Association is the governing body behind all triathlon, duathlon and aquathlon activities in Hong Kong and holds events in many locations, including Repulse Bay and Lantau Island.
The Volleyball Association of Hong Kong organizes events promoting participation in and the spectatorship of volleyball. Their biggest event is the FIVB Volleyball Nations League Hong Kong, an international women’s volleyball competition that welcomes top-ranked women’s national teams to Hong Kong.
From scuba diving and fishing to windsurfing and paddle boarding, Hong Kong has a remarkable availability of water sports facilities, clubs and support networks. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) manages five water sports centers in the New Territories and Hong Kong Island: Stanley Main Beach Water Sports and St. Stephen’s Beach Water Sports Centre in Stanley; Chong Hing Water Sports Centre and the Jockey Club Wong Shek Water Sports Centre in Sai Kung; and Tai Mei Tuk Water Sports Centre in Tai Po. These centers hold regular training courses, competitions and camps to improve water sports skills and safety.
Sports for People with Disabilities
Established in 1972, the Hong Kong Paralympics Committee & Sports Association for the Physically Disabled (HKPC) is in charge of promoting, organizing, developing and implementing sports for people with physical disabilities and arranging the training and selection of athletes to represent Hong Kong in overseas competitions. The HKPC is the only association in Hong Kong authorized to select athletes to participate in the Paralympic Games and world and regional championships sanctioned by the International Paralympic Committee.
Other associations offering sports training and competition for the disabled include:
- Riding for the Disabled Association
- Hong Kong Sports Association for Persons with Intellectual Disability
- Hong Kong Sports Association of the Deaf (Chinese website only)
- Hong Kong Wheelchair Dance Sport Association
- Blind Sports Hong Kong
The LCSD website has a special section with information on facilities and activities that are suitable for persons with disabilities.