Choi confident squash can retain its status
Hong Kong squash coach Tony Choi Yuk-kwan is confident his sport will retain its place at the next Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea, despite speculation it is to be axed.
Squash is one of the seven non-Olympic sports recommended by the organisers for the 2014 Incheon Games. The others are wushu, bowling, baseball, softball, kabaddi and sepak takraw. The Games will also include all 28 sports on the Olympic programme.
But the Olympic Council of Asia has insisted cricket and karate have to be on the schedule in Incheon, which means two from the list of non-Olympic events will be dropped. The Koreans have never achieved good results in squash at international level and, as hosts, are likely to oppose its inclusion.
'Participation in the Asian Games is very important as it's a prerequisite for any sport to get support from the Hong Kong Sports Institute,' said Choi. 'If you are out of the Games, you cannot be part of the elite programme. We heard the speculation but our Asian federation is working hard to keep the sport in the Games. We have the support of Kuwait, where the OCA headquarters are located, Malaysia, China and many other nations. I don't think it will be easy to move us out of the Games.'
Meanwhile, the squash competition begins today with two individual events at Asian Games Town Gymnasium.
Annie Au Wing-chi, Joey Chan Hoi-ling, Dick Lau Siu-wai and Max Lee Ho-yin are expected to win through in the opening stages.
'Our target is to get two to three medals out of the four events and we have the players with the right quality to make it,' Choi said.