Lacking water, host Qatar axes the event The desert emirate of Qatar cannot find a stretch of water long enough to host rowing at the 2006 Asian Games. Admitting defeat, it has dropped the event - thereby dealing a blow to Hong Kong's medal hopes. 'Rowing is definitely not on the roster. We have canoeing and kayaking, but no rowing. There is no rowing course in Doha and it was decided that we will not include the sport in the 15th Asian Games,' a spokesman for the organisers in Doha said. The news was greeted with shock by Hong Kong rowing head coach Chris Perry. Rowing was one of Hong Kong's top gold medal hopes at the 2006 Asian Games and Perry had pinned his hopes on leading men's sculler Law Hiu-fung, who reached the final stages at the Athens Olympics. 'This is a major blow if it is true. With the team we have now, we are definitely looking at three or four medals. This will hit us badly,' Perry said. 'I'm going to pursue the matter. Yes, they don't have a facility to hold races over 2,000 metres, which is the required standard. But there was a canal close to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel where races over 1,000 metres could be held. I'm shocked to hear now that it has been axed.' During a presentation at yesterday's 12th Asian Sports Press Union Congress, games officials revealed that rowing had been cut from the record 40 sports that will be held at the December 1 to 15 games. A disappointed Law said: 'Since the Olympics ended, my focus has been on preparing for the Asian Games. If this is the case, I don't have any target to aim for and it is very disappointing. I don't mind racing over 1,000 metres. I can train for that.' Perry said: 'I will take the matter up with the International Federation. This is a massive blow for Hong Kong. 'They don't need a purpose-built facility. The one they have is like what we have at Shing Mun, and you could hold the event there.'