Japanese officials seek HK support

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 June, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 June, 1994, 12:00am

TWO top officials from Japan will be coming to Hong Kong on a goodwill visit next month to lobby support for Yukimitsu Kano, who is running for the presidency of the International Judo Federation.

Kano, the Asian vice-president of the IJF who is also chief of the All Japan Judo Federation and the Judo Union of Asia, is seeking to overthrow Luis Baguena of Spain at the IJF Congress to be held in Makuhari, Japan in September 1995.

Since Baguena took over the IJF presidency in 1991, the European countries have been making changes to the sport.

They have introduced coloured judogi (uniform) for competitions - with one contestant wearing blue and the opponent in the traditional white.

The Europeans also seek to change the scoring system to make judo more like a combat sport.

While admitting the proposals for the changes will make the sport more attractive to spectators, Wong stressed the HKJA is behind the Japanese.

''Judo is a sport of skill and finesse but the Europeans want it to be more physical,'' said Cyril Wong Siu-ming, the new chairman of the Hong Kong Judo Association.

''The proposed changes are of good intention as it is good spectator-wise and more appealing for television coverage, but you cannot just totally disregard tradition.

''The Asian judo community is a tight-knit family and I'm sure all the members of the JUA will support Mr Kano.

''The Japanese are keen to regain control of the sport which they founded.'' The Japanese officials thought a Hong Kong visit was necessary to ensure that the recent reshuffle in the HKJA hierarchy would not affect local support for Kano.

Wong's party ousted the long-ruling office bearers led by Samson Mak Yiu-cheung and Henry Shing Yuen-hing from power in HKJA re-elections last month.

after a year of courtroom battling.