China are favourites to win the second Asian Schools Boys' Volleyball Championships which open at Kowloon Park Sports Centre tonight. 'The China team is very strong and their level of play is technically superior to most of their rivals,' said Cheng King-leung, executive secretary of the Volleyball Association of Hong Kong, China. Eight teams, including the mainlanders, will battle it out over the next five days. India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and hosts Hong Kong complete the line up of a tournament originally scheduled to be held in July, but put off because of the Sars outbreak. The teams will be divided into two groups of four with the top two sides in each section qualifying for the semi-finals after a round-robin competition. Hong Kong are in Group A, along with Macau, Sri Lanka and India, while Group B consists of China, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. 'I hope the Hong Kong team can exceed expectations and win a few matches,' said Cheng. 'We've lost a lot of the team that won the inter-port championship last July, because they've gone to university,' he added. The SAR boys' form was good in recent warm-up matches against local university and club teams. They have been training together regularly since January and the side includes several members of the Jing Ying (All-Hong Kong) school champions, PLK Tang Yuk Tien College. The inaugural event, held in Macau in 1996, was won by South Korea. Thailand and China finished second and third, respectively.