THE power struggle within the Hongkong Judo Association (HKJA) has rocked the local sporting scene with the dispute heading for an all-out legal battle which would no doubt hurt the sport. Trouble brewed at the body's annual meeting on June 20 when incumbent president Samson Mak Yiu-cheung and chairman Henry Shing Yuen-hing stopped rival candidates from seeking high-ranking committee positions. The rebels, led by former chairman Cyril Wong Siu-ming, then formed their own hierarchy under the association banner and claimed to be lawful ruling party of the sport in Hongkong with 29 of the 52 member clubs behind them. However, the Amateur Sports Federation and Olympic Committee's president A. de O. Sales is backing the incumbent leaders although he repeatedly refused to endorse his support in writing. The rift is proving costly to the association as the Government's sports funding arm, the Sports Development Board (SDB), had cut subsidies to the judo people. Howard Well, chief executive of the SDB, said: ''We are withholding all funds to the judo association until their dispute is resolved. ''We will continue to pay staff salaries but applications for subsidies towards overseas trips, either for training or competitions, will not be considered.'' The judo players, no doubt the end losers in this power struggle, have pledged their support for the rebels this week. Members of the national squad questioned the ability of Mak and Shing to head the association, claiming that under their leadership the standard of judo had gone down and the sport was getting less government subsidy. They argued that this had curtailed the opportunities to attend international tournaments, unless players were willing to pay their own way. ''I've been in the national squad for 13 years and the situation now is just a complete mess,'' said Alex Lee Kan, a two-time Olympian and a bronze medal winner at the 1992 Commonwealth Championships. ''There was supposed to be a Pacific Rim tournament in New Zealand last month but we were not informed of it and we missed an opportunity to attend a high-level event which would have been helpful in our preparation for the World Championships in September.'' Top woman player Law Lai-wah, a competitor at the Barcelona Olympics and bronze medallist at the 1991 Asian Championships and at the 1992 Commonwealth Championships, doubted whether they would be going to the world tournament in Canada. She said: ''This power struggle is certainly not doing judo any good and with the SDB already announcing they will not support any overseas tours, I fear that we cannot go to the World Championships.'' The rebel group held an extraordinary general meeting this week without the blessing of the incumbent party and it was attended by 29 of the HKJA's 52 member clubs with voting rights. The clubs present voted to confirm the rebels as the lawful office bearers. The meeting also demanded that the executive committee of 1991-93 hand over all documents of the association and that the treasurer to hand over all accounts. They are also seeking to obtain an injunction to evict the incumbent officials from the sport's headquarters in Queen Elizabeth Stadium. Solicitor David Bartlett, who represents the rebel faction in the judo war, said they hoped to obtain an order freezing the activities of the incumbent office-bearers. He said: ''We want the association to be controlled by the five neutrals who are officials in both parties. ''These five officers will lead the sport until a new election whereby the clubs will decide whom they want to rule judo in Hongkong.''