Classic organisers set to dig deep

THE local governing body are prepared to put up half the money needed to revive the popular Hongkong Classic - which looks increasingly likely to go ahead.

The Classic, the territory's only world-class tournament which succumbed to a lack of sponsorship last year, needs about $600,000 to take place this November.

But Hongkong Lawn Bowls Association president Ken Wallis said organisers of the tournament, which started in 1980, are determined to see the event return to the Hongkong sporting calendar.

''We are prepared to put up 50 per cent and hope that smaller sponsors come in with the rest,'' Wallis said.

''Of course, the more sponsors that come in, the less we have to delve into our reserves.

''But we are very, very keen to see it go ahead and we will try at all costs to keep it going.'' November 13 to 20 have been set aside as possible dates, although the Souza singles competition cannot be held at its traditional venue, Hongkong Football Club, which will be undergoing reconstruction.

The association committee will meet on April 19 to decide how to proceed with the Classic.

The last Classic was held in 1990 at the end of a three-year sponsorship deal with the HongkongBank.

The following year Hongkong played host to the Pacific Championships, but in 1992 the territory was without a major international tournament for the first time in more than a decade.

Wallis said organisers hope to adopt the same format for singles and pairs as last time. The singles will be a two-day, knock-out tournament featuring a 32-man draw, while the pairs will see two groups of 10 or more teams playing over seven days in a round-robin event, culminating in play-offs and a final.