What a glorious summer of sport we’ve had in 2016. We kicked off with the UEFA Champions League, whizzed through the Tour de France, aced Wimbledon (go Andy!), swung into The Open and Euro 2016 netted our attention. This August, all eyes are on Rio for the much anticipated Summer Olympics. Around 10,500 athletes from 206 countries are taking part in 17 days of the Olympiad, competing across 306 events.
Across the water, Hong Kong has been having its very own summer sporting movement. Thousands of paddlers and spectators took to water for the Dragon Boat festival, yogis and wellness seekers descended on Central Harbourfront for IRIS yoga festival and in one week Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Arnold Classic, the largest multi-sport festival in the world, comes to Asia for the very first time.
Set to become one of the biggest fitness events Hong Kong has seen, Arnold Classic Asia promises a weekend of non-stop sport, fitness and wellbeing. Hong Kongers can expect an action-packed weekend of sport-based activities and competitions, from bodybuilding to jump rope, MMA to table tennis and everything in between. Arnold’s sport crusade started in the US 40 years ago and he has now brought his vision of sport and health to 5 continents around the globe through the festival, with each location attracting at least 30,000 attendees. The festivals encourage a community of learning and discovery, with kids’ activities, active workshops and opportunities to learn from the pros.
The debut of Arnold Classic Asia to the local market illustrates a growing trend in Hong Kong. Hong Kongers from young to old are embracing the active life, which is evident in the city’s booming health and fitness industry. Euromonitor Market research reports that the health and wellness industry will continue to see positive growth in coming years, especially in light of an increased government focus on promoting the importance of staying healthy and fit. This trajectory is good news for health and wellness brands, many of which have invested in the Hong Kong market with an eye to springboard into China, who in October 2015 issued a national plan for the development of its own sports industry. According to China Daily, the industry’s value may exceed USD800.4 billion by 2025.
Whether spending their weekends exploring Hong Kong’s abundant nature trails, joining fitness communities such as Bikini Fit or F45, or trying out the latest fitness crazes, many Hong Kongers are embracing the benefits of a healthy, active lifestyle. If the rippling muscles and toned abs of the Arnold Classic Asia competitors descending upon Hong Kong this August don’t motivate you to get off your couch, it’s hard to know what will!