Cup TV ban on HK team

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2006, 12:00am

Members of the Hong Kong tenpin bowling team have been barred from watching World Cup soccer matches when they kick off their campaign in the East Asian Championships at the Mei Foo Super Fun Bowl this weekend.

Hong Kong will take on China, Taiwan, North and South Korea, Japan and Macau in the annual tournament as part of their build-up for the forthcoming Asian Championships in Indonesia in August and December's Asian Games.

Coach Pedro Luis Merani has already imposed a curfew of 10pm for when the bowlers move into a hotel tomorrow.

'Watching football games is impossible,' Merani said. 'Some games are from 3 to 5am, and we need to wake up at 5.30. Beyond that rule, we aren't mean people; it's a matter of being sharp and focused for that day.

'I'm from Argentina. I'm a fanatic about football, our whole country is, but I haven't even watched any of my country's games yet. My focus must be 100 per cent for Hong Kong, and the athletes' should be as well.'

Members of the squad accepted the restrictions.

'I have watched some of the matches, but I have no problem with the straight rules as I know it is important to keep focused when you are playing in a top-level tournament,' said Wu Siu-hong, Hong Kong's leading player. 'I know some of my colleagues may find it difficult to take, but the tournament will be over by next week and they can still watch plenty of the World Cup tournament.'

The leading women's player, Vanessa Fung Suet-yee, said she had not watched any of the soccer because she was busy with her studies on a tenpin bowling course.

Fung was looking forward to playing on home territory. 'There is always the advantage of playing at home although we also need to adjust to the oil pattern of the lanes,' Fung said. 'My form is pretty good and, with some countries not sending their top bowlers, we stand a good chance to win something.'