Friday, March 28, 2014

The size of the contingent for the 2014 Asia Games in Incheon

The size of the contingent for the 2014 Asia Games in Incheon, South Korea would be decided by August 1, said Chef-de-Mission Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah.

Danyal who is also the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) vice president said a majority of the National Sports Associations have yet to submit their list of athletes and officials to the selection committee.

The Asian Games will be held from September 19 to October 4.

“The selection of athletes for the Asian Games will involve 29 associations and feature roughly about 600 athletes and officials. We will shortlist members of the contingent by August 1,” Danyal told reporters after chairing the Asian Games managers meeting at Wisma OCM, here yesterday.

Danyal said the Palm Garden Hotel IOI Resort, Putrajaya will be the centralised training camp for athletes from Sept 8 to 15. All athletes and officials must attend the centralised camp,” he said.

The 2014 Asian Games in Incheon will feature 36 sports, including eight sports that are not in the Olympic Games programme.

Among the sports to be contested are archery, athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, canoe, kayak, cycling, equestrian, fencing, football, golf, gymnastics, hand ball, hockey, judo, pentathlon, triathlon, rowing, rugby, sailing, shooting, table tennis, taekwando, tennis, volleyball, weightlifting and wrestling.

The eight sports that are not in the Olympics programme are baseball, tenpin bowling, cricket, kabaddi, karate, sepak takraw, squash and wushu. — Bernama

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Asian Games old-style cycling track

Cycling is a major source of potential medals for Hong Kong, whose ranks include top contenders such as Sarah Lee Wai-sze, Jamie Wong Wan-yiu, Cheung Kin-lok and Kwok Ho-ting and the venue will play a pivotal role in enabling them to perform to their best.

As hosts, South Korea, one of the major track cycling powers in Asia, will benefit from being able to practise on the track.

"You can't say there is any foul play by the organisers as long as they follow the rules of the international federation," said Hong Kong Cycling Association chairman Leung Hung-tak.

"Both the 250-metre or 333-metre venues are legitimate according to the International Cycling Union, although I would say 333-metre tracks are rarely used for international competitions these days.

"I know the Incheon outdoor venue has been there for a long time and perhaps the organisers want to save money by not building any new facility but by using the existing one."

Leung said the Hong Kong team had to adjust their build-up for the Games because of the venue issue.

"Normally we train in Guangzhou's velodrome, which was built for the 2010 Asian Games, but now we need to travel to Qinhuangdao, in northern China, where they have a similar track," said Leung.

"We want the riders to get used to the outdoor environment, including wind conditions and lighting, so that they can remain competitive."

Hong Kong coach Shen Jinkang, meanwhile, is considering sending a women's sprint team to Incheon to increase the city's medal chances.

Lee has been a dominate force in the individual sprint but it has been difficult to find a suitable partner for her in the team.

Meng Zhaojuan, who also took part in the individual sprint in the Guangzhou Games, in 2010, may be a logical choice, while Diao Xiaojuan, who will represent Hong Kong in the omnium in Incheon, is another option.

"We still have to check out the racing schedules before we make a decision as we need to find out how close these events will be," said the coach.

"The two individual events - sprint and keirin - will still be Lee's first priority."

The Incheon Games will include only the 10 Olympic disciplines, which means Lee will not be able to defend her title in the 500-metre time trial, an event in which she is the Asian record holder.

Hong Kong won a total of four golds, four silvers and one bronze medal in cycling in Guangzhou four years ago.

Beng Hee is capable of delivering a gold medal for Malaysia

David Pearson giving some tips to national No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan. - Photo by KNG ZHENG GUAN / The Star
Beng Hee who has two Asian Games gold medals from 2002 and 2006, however has been facing a dip in form of late, mostly due to the age factor.

However, Pearson believes the world No. 27 can still go out with a bang as the main challengers for gold at the Asian Games are still within his range. They are world No. 18 Saurav Ghosal of India, world No. 33 Max Lee of Hong Kong as well as national No. 2 Mohd Nafiizwan Adnan.

“In a way, even an old dog can still learn new tricks and it depends on whether Beng Hee wants to go out with a sting, or just a damp squib,” said Pearson who arrived here last Thursday at Beng Hee’s request.

“The way I look at it, the other guys ... Saurav and Max are not out of Beng Hee’s range and he can still do it if he wants to.

“But, to do that he has to be more open-minded and be prepared to do better.

“Right now, I’m working a bit on the mental side with him, but it’s mostly technical.

“I’m getting him to be more aggressive especially in terms of his body language because he tends to be a little too passive at times.

“He’s got to be a bit more aware of his surroundings and be prepared to go for the shots at the right time. At the end of the day, it’s all about learning new things every day.”

Commenting on Massaro, Pearson admitted that while her squash is not the nicest to watch, she deserves credit for becoming the first Englishwoman to win the world title since Cassie Jackman in 1999.

“Laura’s put in a lot of hard work because she was never the most natural player and she has had to change a lot in her game, especially her technique,” said Pearson.

“Her squash may not be the nicest to watch but she’s whole-hearted ... works hard, and she definitely deserves this win. She should be proud of herself.”

Pearson, who has been based in Harrogate, England, for the past 23 years, will join a sharing session with the national and state-based coaches for three days starting today, before heading home on Monday.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Hosting the Asian sporting event may cost Vietnam over $300 million, double the initial estimate

My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi that was built for the 22nd Southeast Asian Games in 2003 and several relevant infrastructure constructions have been criticized as being wasted while costs for the 2019 Asian Games are estimated to rise to more than US$300 million. Photo: Ngo Nguyen
The government will likely have to spend over US$300 million hosting the Asian Games (Asiad) in 2019, double what it had previously announced.
Deputy Finance Minister Do Hoang Tuan Anh quoted a Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism plan as saying that the government will have to prepare over VND5.47 trillion for the event.
The figure did not include VND820 billion ($38.67 million) in estimated expenses for the training of Vietnamese athletes who would take part in the Games, he said.
Anh was speaking at a meeting with the National Assembly’s Culture, Education, Youth and Children Committee on Tuesday, where lawmakers grilled Hoang Tuan Anh, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, over the possibility of getting enough funds together to host the event properly.
Previously when asking for the Prime Minister’s permission to bid on hosting the 18th Asiad, the ministry estimated that the event would cost Vietnam $150 million.
However, at the latest meeting, Anh said the previously estimated costs did not include infrastructure investment, because infrastructure was already part of local governments’ development plans.
It was not clear if the ministry’s latest proposed costs included investment in infrastructure.
One lawmaker who raised concerns over the event’s budget, Le Nhu Tien, vice chairman of the committee, said Qatar spent $2.8 billion hosting the event in 2006, China nearly $20 billion in 2010, and South Korea planned $1.62 billion this year.
Tien told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that the sport ministry wanted to avoid alarming the public when announcing the package of $150 million, which was actually just part of total expenses.
He said all expenses related to the hosting of the Asiad must be calculated in detail instead of being “ambiguous,” otherwise the government and the National Assembly would get stuck in “a done deal.”
Local media have reported that several facilities in Ho Chi Minh City that were built or upgraded for the 22nd Southeast Asian Games have been abandoned, degraded or used for other purposes.
The Ky Hoa Petanque Club, with six international-standard petanque courts, has been turned into a car park.
It's not so bad for the Lanh Binh Thang Stadium, but it has hosted no major Judo competition despite being upgraded to host martial arts events during the SEA Games.
The Phu Tho Sports Complex, which required more than VND140 billion to turn it into a venue that could host taekwondo competitions during the same games, has not been used for major sport competitions since. It has become a popular exhibition venue now.
Tien, the lawmaker, said the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi that was built for the 22nd SEA Games in 2003 and was also a waste.
"The stadium and several relevant infrastructure constructions have been wasted. Now, they have even leased some places to host weddings and other non-sport activities,” he said.

Oman Hockey Association (OHA) is drawing a plan ahead of the 2014 Asiad

Following Oman's excellent performance in the Asian Games Qualifier in Bangladesh, the Oman Hockey Association (OHA) is drawing a plan ahead of the 2014 Asiad set to be held in South Korea from September 19 to October 4.

Speaking to Times Sporton Monday, OHA General Secretary Redha Taqi Al Lawati said arrangements have been made to help the national team achieve success at the Asian Games.  "We are doing everything possible to help our team achieve good results in the Asian Games," Redha said.

As part of the plan, the team will undergo external training camps in Germany and the Netherlands.

"We have not yet decided on the itinerary but this is one part of the plan to send the team for a rigorous training camps in Germany and Holland," he noted.

Oman won four games in the eight-nation Asian Games Qualifier in Dhaka before losing to Bangladesh in the title decider on Sunday. In the qualifying matches, Oman beat Chinese Taipei, Sri Lanka, Qatar and Singapore. In Sunday's final, Oman lost to Bangladesh 6-1.

OHA officials are satisfied with the performance of the Oliver Kurtz-coached team. "We are extremely happy with the performance of our team and, more than that, we are satisfied with the progress they are making as a team," Redha said.

According to Redha, the timing of the title decider could have affected Oman's show against Bangladesh.

"They were playing so well in all the games and, therefore, going down 6-1 was rather unfortunate," Redha said. "I think it has mostly to do with the timing of the matches. There should have been a break before the title decider. With four consecutive games at a stretch, I feel our players may have been tired but we will have to wait and see the coach's report to know what went wrong," he informed.

"Bangladesh was playing on their home turf and thus the advantage was with them. We wasted 12 short corners. That is something strange," he said.

"But we are pleased with the performance. The boys are doing extremely well and the level of their playing skills has certainly improved. We look forward to a good show in South Korea during the Asian Games," Redha added.

'Work harder for Asiad'
Meanwhile, hockey veteran Saiyed Ali Sibtain Naqvi urged the Oman team to work hard to face some of the toughest teams from the continent at the Asian Games.  "If they want to survive in the Asian Games against them, they need to seriously improve their level of playing," the former Oman coach said.

According to Naqvi, six Asian teams that include India, Pakistan, Japan, Malaysia, China and host South Korea could prove a stiff challenge for Oman.

"They are the best sides in Asia and could prove a big challenge for Oman. There is no doubt that we have good talents and they have done well in the qualifier but they need to work hard for a better performance in the Games," Naqvi added

Sri Lanka Cricket Squad - 17th Asian Games Incheon, Korea

Sri Lanka Cricket has named a 25-man provisional squad for the 17th Asian Games, scheduled to be held from 19th September to 04th October 2014 in Incheon,Korea. National Selection Committee has nominated the following squad:

 17th Asian Games Squad – Incheon, Korea
1.       Dimuth Karunaratne
2.       Upul Tharanga
3.       Udara Jayasundara
4.       Niroshan Dickwella
5.       Ashan Priyanjan
6.       Kithruwan Vithanage
7.       Angelo Perera
8.       Jehan Mubarak
9.       Romesh Buddhika
10.   Mahela Udawatte
11.   Asela Gunaratne
12.   Bhanuka Rajapaksha
13.   Chathuranga De Silva
14.   Seekuge Prasanna
15.   Dilruwan Perera
16.   Ramith Rambukwella
17.   Akila Dhanjaya
18.   Suraj Randiv
19.   Shaminda Eranga
20.   Vishawa Fernando
21.   Chaminda Bandara
22.   Ashan Jayaratne
23.   Dushmantha Chameera
24.   Charith Jayampathy
25.   Sachith Pathirana

India outsmarted Pakistan 36-31

India outsmarted Pakistan 36-31 to win the third South Asian Handball Championship at an outdoor court at the Genesis Global School here Wednesday.

India, who beat Pakistan also in the league stage, shrugged off a shaky start to get the better of the reigning South Asian Games champions. Bangladesh beat Afghanistan to finish third in the five-nation competition.

Greenidge D'Cunha starred for India scoring 12 goals and got good support from his captain Nayachandra Singh. Tariq Iqbal and Uzain Atif shared seven goals apiece for Pakistan.

Pakistan gave India a tough fight in the first half with the score tied at 18-18. India upped the pace of the game in the second half and the Pakistani team could do little to match that. The home team's conversion rate also improved and at one point had a nine goal advantage before Pakistan reduced the lead in the 60 minute contest (two halves of 30 minutes each).

The game had the intensity of a typical India-Pakistan clash with players of both teams not shy to use the cuss words.

Pakistan captain Tahir Ali said his team gave its best despite missing important players.

"India had a strong team while six of our key players were not released by the army. We did well to match India early on but the boys could not defend well in the second half. They were short on temperament too," Ali told IANS, adding that the whole squad had a great time in India. Their stay also included a customary visit to the Taj Mahal.

Ali concluded by saying the quality of referring was rather average.

Actress and boxer Lee Si-young will not participate in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games

Lee Si-young

Actress and boxer Lee Si-young will not participate in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games in September as she failed to enter the final tryouts on Tuesday. She also missed the previous two tryouts.

"She didn't have enough time to build up her skills for the bout," said Kim Won-chan, manager of Incheon City boxing team. "But we will keep working on her conditioning with the aim of getting her into the World Championships on Jeju Island in November,"

Lee became known as a pugilist after winning the women's 48-kg category in the National Amateur Boxing Championships in 2011. She also won the Seoul Amateur Boxing Match in 2012 and the National Amateur Boxing Championships in 2013.

She is expected to focus on acting for a while as she has been cast as the female lead in the new KBS drama "Golden Cross," which will start airing early April.