Bowlers cry foul over threat to elite status
Vivien Fung Lau Chiang-chu, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Tenpin Bowling Congress, has cried foul after the Hong Kong Sports Institute put her sport on notice to shape up or risk losing its elite status - and the funds that come with it.
Fung accused the institute of double standards when she put her case to an appeals panel on Wednesday night. 'We were only informed very late [in the process] that we did not achieve the required standard [for elite status] because one of the events we submitted for review was not considered when compiling our score,' she said.
Vanessa Fung Suet-yee came fourth in the women's singles at the 2005 World Games in Germany - a result that won her the Sports Aid Foundation's (SAF) Elite B category support. But the same result was rejected by the institute when reviewing the sport's elite status.
'We could not believe it because we used the same result for the SAF application, and it was accepted by the institute,' Fung said.
After the World Games result was rejected, the HKTBC submitted results for the 2005 East Asian Games, where the five-man team won a silver medal. The review panel then gave the sport 8.75 points, a quarter of a point below the score required for elite status.
'If the World Games result has been considered, we would have scored 9.5 points because it is supposed to be equivalent to Olympic level. The East Asian Games have a far lower rating, but even so we only missed the standard by a mere 0.25 points,' said Fung.
The World Games, held every four years, is a multi-sports games for non-Olympic disciplines and is recognised by the International Olympic Committee. The last one in Duisburg was its seventh edition.
During Wednesday's appeal, Fung asked the institute to reconsider its decision and include the result from the World Games. Even if tenpin bowling's appeal fails, the sport will still be kept under the elite programme for two more years before the next review is held.
Two other sports - athletics and tennis - also appeared in front of the panel for failing to reach the required standard. They will be axed from the elite programme in two months if their appeals fail.