Fearless four in step for trailwalk glory

Monday, October 28, 2013

Hiking 100 kilometers in mountainous terrain will not deter the "Fearless Dragons," a team of four visually and hearing-impaired individuals who will take part in next month's Oxfam Trailwalker.

They said the most important quality of all is team spirit, and hope to finish the trail in 34 to 37 hours.

Trailwalker, which will be held on November 15 to 17, requires teams to finish the 100km walk from Pak Tam Chung to Yuen Long within 48 hours.

The team comprises one who has impaired hearing, two who are visually impaired and one who is completely blind. They started training in March, seven months ahead of the walk.

"We want to show that being disabled should not be a hindrance in doing the things you love," said Alsa Kwok King, 53, who is taking part in the trailwalker for the second time.

As part of their preparation, the team climbed 200 flights of stairs, went running, did physical fitness training and trailwalking every week.

"We use more physical strength than other people," said Galant Ng Ka-lun, 33, who has only 10percent of vision left.

"As we don't know how high a staircase step is, we always need to take a bigger step." It is challenging ... but we won't succeed without trying."

Kim Mok Kim-wing, 49, who is completely blind, said he sprained his ankles several times during training as there were small obstacles along the trail.

Though Michael Ng Ka-lun, 40, has good eyesight, he struggles to balance himself after he lost his hearing. But despite the intensive training, they said coordination is vital for them to complete the walk.

"The one walking at the back will have to push the person in the front, while, sometimes, the one in the front will have to lead those at the back," Kwok said. "We call it the `sandwich strategy."'

About 1,200 teams will join this year's Oxfam Trailwalker, which aims to raise HK$30 million. KELLY IP