Bodybuilding gets chop but all's ok
The exclusion of bodybuilding from this year's East Asian Games (EAG) has not affected preparations for the biggest multi-sports event to be hosted by Hong Kong, organisers say.
They announced details of the torch relay and 100-day countdown for the showpiece to be held from December 5-13.
The Games organisers have decided to drop bodybuilding due to a lack of agreement between the International Federation of Bodybuilding and Fitness and the Asian Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation on the appointment of technical officials and judges.
Bodybuilding was to be included in the EAG for the first time this year. Despite the cancellation, the EAG will be the biggest ever in terms of the number of sports and athletes. More than 3,000 athletes from nine countries and regions will vie for 262 gold medals in 22 sports.
According to a spokesman for the EAG, the omission of bodybuilding has not hindered preparatory work for the sporting extravaganza. 'Everything is on schedule,' he said.
The programme and lineup for the 100-day countdown and torch relay were announced last week. Both activities will be held on August 29 and help build the atmosphere in the run-up to the Games, organisers said.
The Hong Kong leg of last year's Olympic torch relay was criticised for having too many politicians and tycoons, and too few athletes.
This time, of the 65 torch-bearers, more than 80 per cent are athletes, including windsurfer Lee Lai-shan, cyclist Wong Kam-po, table tennis duo Li Ching and Ko Lai-chak, and top mainland gymnast Li Xiaopeng.
The torch-bearers will also include Eason Chan Yik-shun, Alan Tam Wing-lun, Hacken Lee and four other celebrities.
The torch relay will be held from 3pm to about 4.30pm next month. It will start in Tsim Sha Tsui and continue across Victoria harbour via a ferry ride to Wan Chai.
The 100-day celebration - 'Countdown to the Hong Kong 2009 EAG Show' - will be held the same evening.
For more details, visit www.2009eastasiangames.hk