AMID the prospect of being kicked out of their training facility at the Hong Kong Sports Institute, elite local athletes joined a programme to promote the 2009 East Asian Games (EAG) in schools. The athletes were present at a press conference last week, where the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC) announced it has joined hands with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to run the Sports Education Programme on Olympism and Hong Kong's first major competition - the 2009 EAG. Athletes have appealed to the government not to disrupt their build-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the 2009 EAG, by relocating them in case the equestrian events at the Beijing Games are awarded to the SAR. If Hong Kong gets to host the equestrian events, the plan is to relocate the institute from Sha Tin to a temporary facility in Tsuen Wan on January 1, 2007. Officials are hoping to build a 20,000-seat stadium and an air-conditioned indoor riding hall at the former premises to accommodate the Olympic dressage and show-jumping events. It is a gloomy scenario for the athletes who say the government has neglected their interests. 'Relocating would be a major inconvenience to the athletes,' said fencing ace, Ho Ka-lai. 'To suggest that we could simply be moved to inferior facilities implies disrespect to our needs. The extra travelling would affect our training and be a serious disruption. I hope a better solution can be found.' SF&OC president, Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, said the sports community must fully support the government's 2009 EAG promotional campaign. He said: 'Rome was not built in a day and we have to start our preparations and promotion years ahead. This programme will enrich students' general knowledge about sports, and cultivate a sports culture which will prepare them for the hosting of the Games.' Last month the government confirmed $300 million will be spent on a new sports ground for track and field events at Tseung Kwan O. It will be one of two new facilities to be specially built for the 2009 EAG, with a windsurfing centre due to open in Stanley this year. Hong Kong was awarded the fifth EAG in 2003. The fourth EAG will be held in Macau in October. Sports to be included in the 2009 EAG will be announced in 2007.