Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wide world of sports

It started with Thai boxing back in, well, Thailand. Then I tried rugby (the sevens variety, which is the better kind) in Fiji, and footy in Melbourne (that's Australian Rules Football for those not in the know... or not in Australia), and sumo in Japan

I love the man-mountain of sumo

South America added tennis in Buenos Aires and futbol (gooooaaaaaalll!) in Sucre, Bolivia. Coming into Hong Kong, I wasn't really expecting any big spectator sports, but I was wrong. There's horse racing over here, and apparently it's a really big deal. So, on a rather gloomy and overcast day I made my way up to the Sha Tin Racecourse up in the New Territories to explore the local sporting obsession

It's all very royal and British around horse racing here

Going into the racecourse

In spite of having lived in the State of Kentucky, which is only slightly less obsessed about horse racing than it is about UK basketball, and even knowing people (ok, a person) involved in the horse racing industry, I'd never actually been to a horse race, so I didn't really know what to expect, nor I can really compare Hong Kong racing against the American variety. So, basic impressions: I don't know anything about horse racing, so there are giant tableaus with all kinds of information, but I don't know what most of it means. As far as the locals seem concerned, there's really no sport here except for the betting - people barely pay attention to the race itself, but everybody bets and focuses on their stat and information sheets. I didn't care to bet. I just figured I'd take some pictures, and hopefully some wouldn't come out totally blurry:

Getting ready for the race

Around the turn they come!

Down the straightaway towards the finish line!

Now closer to the action, armed with my big lens, I got a few interesting shots

Pushing for position to the very end

After three races, I took off to find an ultimate frisbee game in Hong Kong - racing was interesting, but without betting, it doesn't look like you can really get into it. On a nicer day, you can probably just sit around and enjoy the day, but on a rainy day, I figured I'd rather be playing frisbee!

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