Hong Kong mascot aims to meet Becks

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 05 March, 2008, 12:00am

Hong Kong's 2009 East Asian Games mascot will race across the harbour on Sunday, soon after he (or she, or it) is unveiled, to meet a bigger icon - David Beckham.

EAG organisers couldn't believe their luck when they learned that Beckham, the most recognisable face in world soccer, would be in town on Sunday with the Los Angeles Galaxy, the very same day the mascot for next year's Games is revealed.

Realising the invaluable exposure and publicity that will be gained from a meeting with Beckham, plans are underfoot to arrange the get-together during Sunday's exhibition game between the Galaxy and a South China Invitation XI at Hong Kong Stadium.

'We are talking to the people at South China and trying to arrange for our mascot to be introduced to David Beckham. It will be a huge opportunity and one that should not be missed,' said Johnny Woo Wai-man, chief executive officer of the 2009 East Asian Games.

The mascot will be unveiled at Ocean Terminal in Tsim Sha Tsui an hour before kick-off (3pm).

'We'll dash across the harbour, hopefully before half-time. Maybe the mascot can meet Beckham after the game. It'll be good publicity for the East Asian Games,' Woo said.

And what about the mascot's identity? That will be top secret until Sunday, according to Woo. What isn't top secret is that the East Asian Games have been brought forward by a week after organisers realised the original schedule would see the penultimate day clash with the 10th anniversary of Macau's handover.

'The Games were originally scheduled for December 12-20, but we have had to change it to December 5-13 because Macau's 10th handover anniversary falls on the 19th,' said Woo. 'All the participating Olympic committees have agreed to the change in dates.'

Nine countries and regions will take part in the 5th EAG - China, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Macau, Mongolia, Guam and Hong Kong.

A total of 23 sports will be played with 287 gold medals up for grabs.