HONG Kong canoeists aim to come out of the shadow of the rowing team and have planned their most ambitious programme, including sending a team for July's World Youth Championships on Lake Motosu in Yamanashi, Japan. The canoeists and rowers both train on the Shing Mun River in Sha Tin, but while the latter have developed into one of the top teams in Asia, the paddlers have remained minnows. 'Our problem is lack of exposure and competition because we seldom send our athletes away for training,' said Dick Tam Wai-cheong, senior sports executive of the Hong Kong Canoe Union. Antal Hajba, the 10,000-metre Canadian canoe world champion in 1966, was appointed full-time coach of the Hong Kong team last August and he has proposed the most ambitious training programme ever undertaken by the HKCU. The Hungarian wants to take eight paddlers on a training tour to Europe in May to prepare them for major competitions. Besides taking canoeists earmarked for October's Asian Championships in Sichuan, Hajba wants to include some youngsters likely to represent Hong Kong at the World Youth Championships. Said Tam: 'We have applied to the Sports Development Board for the subsidy and we are keeping our fingers crossed that the money will be granted.' Promising young paddlers likely to be picked for the stint include Tang Ming-fai and Fan Chi-ho, both 17-year-olds.