Asian meet in grave jeopardy |
June 12, 2003
The New Straits Times
> Page Views 4480
LUKEWARM reponse, probably due to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) scare, has placed the Asian Schools Boys Hockey Championship in jeopardy.
Of the 12 countries invited to the tournament in Kuantan on July 20-29, only three ? hosts Malaysia, Singapore and Sri Lanka ? have acepted.
Indonesia, Brunei, Macau, Hong Kong and Laos have declined, while to date there is no response from India, South Korea, China or the Philippines.
With time running out, the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM), is making frantic efforts to get three more countries to compete.
If not, the championship will either be postponed or cancelled.
The SARS scare, coupled with the Malaysian Hockey Federation's (MHF) decision to declare the Kuantan Hockey Stadium unfit to play, has put the tournament in danger of being called off.
"We are very concerned about the Asian Schools Championship for two reasons," said Mohamed Zarrawi Ravi Abdullah, assistant director of the Education Ministry's sports division.
"Firstly, only three countries have accepted the invitation, five have declined and there had been no news from India, South Korea, China and the Philippines.
"The poor response could be due to the SARS scare but we are trying to get three more countries to compete, otherwise the championship will either be postponed or cancelled," said Zarrawi.
Zarrawi said what is more disconcerting is the pitiful state of the Kuantan pitch.
"Should MSSM manage to get six countries to compete, another problem arises as the championship cannot be played on a sub-standard pitch.
"That is why we will decide next week on the next course of action. One option is to appoint a new host to replace Pahang but MSS Pahang has put in a great deal of work into the championship so that option is very unlikely.
"Hopefully, by next week MSSP will be able to assure us that the torn and worn-out section of the pitch will be replaced in time for the championshsip."
Your opinion counts.
Rate this article or enter your comments below.