Rugby 'to get nod for showpiece'
Rugby is set to make its East Asian Games debut when the event comes to Hong Kong in 2009.
Altogether six sports will be on the programme for the first time - rugby, cycling, squash, snooker, table tennis and windsurfing.
Although it is expected to be the sevens version of the oval-ball game, that has not been confirmed.
The six were on a list proposed by the planning committee to the council of the East Asian Games Association council during the latter's three-day meeting here over the weekend.
'We have proposed a list of 19 medal sports and two demonstration sports for the Hong Kong games in 2009,' the committee chairman, Timothy Fok Tsun-ting, said.
'The newly proposed sports are sports in which Hong Kong harbour good medal hopes as we need to be competitive as the host.
'A rules and technical committee has been set up to discuss the list of sports and I don't see any big problem in letting them in. Hopefully a decision can be made before the committee next meets in September.'
Of the new sports, rugby would be a demonstration sport, while the others would be full medal events. Dance, a medal sport at the last games in Macau, is the other proposed demonstration sport.
Badminton, a medal sport for the first two versions of the games in Shanghai and Pusan in 1993 and 1997 respectively, is also included in the proposed list.
Other proposed medal sports are soccer, weightlifting, hockey, swimming, tennis, shooting, athletics, rowing, basketball, tenpin bowling and wushu. There is no place for dragon boating, which made its debut at the Macau games last year. It is believed South Korea want to add taekwondo.
The planning committee has received applications from 42 local sports bodies interested in joining the 2009 games and a priority list has been made in accordance with their past records of achievements at Asian games and championships.
'Those proposed sports are on top of the list and they should be able bring Hong Kong honour as the host,' said an official who did not wish to be named. 'We need to confirm the list as soon as possible because it involves getting the required budget from the Legislative Council.'