BOSN talks to... Michael Wan

How did you first get involved in the sports industry?

Returning from the UK in November 2012 after 2 years with the Metropolitan Police, I realised I didn’t want to be a policeman for life without pursuing my life-long passion to be involved in the sport community. I joined South China Athletic Association soon after I landed in Hong Kong to manage the club’s Gym and Fitness Centre. A great opportunity to work with Hong Kong Rugby Union then came along two and a half years later – making the decision to switch was a no-brainer for me. Having organised the famous Hong Kong Sevens for 3 years I then decided to take on a new challenge with Hong Kong Triathlon Association.

You’ve now been General Manager at the HKTA for 6 months - what’s been the highlight of your tenure so far?

The highlight would definitely be Hong Kong’s first medal in triathlon at the Asian Games in 12 years as well as the Hong Kong Life Asian Triathlon and the Aquathlon Championships, the largest local triathlon events in October in 2018.The races had everything you would imagine: unpredictable weather, crashes, disqualifications and so forth; commercially it was also a huge success.

What exciting plans does HKTA have for the year ahead?

We have some exciting plans for 2019. We are working closely with global triathlon brands hoping to stage a world class triathlon event in the iconic city of Hong Kong in the near future.

With its beautiful scenery and challenging terrain, do you think Hong Kong has fully capitalised on it’s potential as a duathlon/triathlon destination?

I strongly believe there is definitely room to fully capitalise on Hong Kong’s beautiful surroundings – however mostly it comes down to securing venues without objections and restrictions from local residents and government authorities.

Does triathlon have the opportunity to become a mass spectator sport in Hong Kong like we’ve seen elsewhere?

I believe triathlon can! Just look at how Hong Kong Marathon has grown in the last 15 years.

This will only come from working closely with rightstakeholders and commercial partners as we are trying to bring in a top global brand to Hong Kong.

What are the biggest challenges facing the sports industry in general in Hong Kong?

Venue would be right on top of my list - there simply isn’t enough infrastructure in Hong Kong designed specifically for sports – the Kai Tak Sports Park will help but it won’t be the final solution – but more importantly NSAs must work proactively in securing the right commercial partners to grow their respective sports.

How would you define success in your role and what do you think it takes to succeed?

Growing participation. This comes from a mixture of components but first we must be even more professional in terms of improving our local races, marketing and branding, reaching out to schools, etc. To get the “right” partners on board will take time and dedicated hard work but without these people and professional improvement it would be hard to succeed.

And speaking of success, how are Hong Kong triathletes faring on the world stage?

On the back of our medal-winning Asian Games, we are now ranked 24th in the world and climbing up as well! Most of our Hong Kong representatives are now full-time athletes and we are confident that they will bring home better future results. We are also working extremely hard to secure a spot in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

What are your 3 wishes for 2019?

1. Everyone be fit and Healthy.

2. Bringing a global triathlon brand into Hong Kong.

3. Connecting TriHK with the right commercial partners.