Arnie adds his muscle to HK sports fiesta

Top News | Carain Yeung 22 Aug 2016

Film star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hobnobbed with Hong Kong fans to celebrate the multi-sports festival he initiated to encourage people to exercise.

"You maybe like gymnastics," he said. "I maybe like bodybuilding. But your exercise is as important as my exercise is. We want to celebrate and bring everyone together."

Workshops and competitions from more than 20 sports were held at AsiaWorld Expo at the weekend.

The city has seen many firsts, said Richard Petty, the businessman who introduced the festival to Hong Kong.

Apart from the first Arnold Classic Asia, sports lovers also experienced Hong Kong's first International Federation of BodyBuilding and Fitness (IFBB) Professional Show and professional strongman races.

The IFBB Pro show was the highlight of the multi-sports festival with athletes coming from all over the world to compete.

The winner of the IFBB Pro Women's Physique event, Tanji Johnson of the United States, had been previously crowned IFBB fitness champion 10 times.

Justin Compton, also from the US, took home another IFBB Pro title after winning the IFBB Golden State Pro in California on August 13.

Other events ranged from mind- sport chess games and competition to martial arts such as Filipino stick fighting and the krav maga self-defense system.

Santina Philips, co-owner of a strongman gym and an amateur strong- woman athlete, said the festival helped promote her sport, especially for women.

Philips pulled an eight-tonne truck earlier as part of the festival's rallying activities and she said a previous video of her stunt had brought more female students to her strongman classes.

Hong Kong China Chess School designed a Pokemon Go-inspired game to allow children to catch 'em all, this time with the monsters changed into chess characters, allowing players to know more about the mind sport.

Marketing manager Keith Tsang Wai-kwan said this game attracted over 400 children and adults at the weekend.

A father, Mr Tsang, brought his son to the venue for a rugby match but he said his five-year-old also tried different sports as many booths were interactive.

Some visitors, however, said they hoped there would be more brands exhibiting at the festival next year.

Ms Chan, 23, said there were not enough sports clothing brands to choose from and the price of the supplements and sports equipment was similar to online shops she visited.

Petty said some still thought it was a gimmick that Schwarzenegger showed up on the day the event opened.

"Everybody knows Arnold is here and every year Arnold comes back and we do it again," he said.

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