Organisers of the ANS Sha Tin Riverside 10km race that was to be held on March 13 are now looking for an alternative event after the race was cancelled due to government objections. The Sha Tin race - which attracts a field of about 1,000 - has been held for each of the past seven years. However, next month's event has come under government scrutiny, resulting in demands for temporary road closures even though the race is run almost entirely on the footpath along the Shing Mun River's banks. 'The Hong Kong Police asked us to get temporary road closures of our gathering point at a car park at Siu Lek Yuen and also short sections of the bike path along the route,' said organiser Li Ho-tung. 'We applied to the Transport Department for the closures but our request was denied.' Referring to Sunday's Standard Chartered Marathon, which will attract 65,000 runners, he said 'this is a rather irritating situation considering that highways, half of the Tsing Ma Bridge and the Western Harbour Tunnel will be closed for most of the day ... while our race, which has been successfully staged for the past seven years, has now had to be cancelled.' Sha Tin police district commander Richard Morgan said that it was their duty to carry out risk assessment of all race venues and to offer advice to race organisers. 'We give as much help as we can and in this case we suggested an alternative venue on the Ma On Shan Promenade,' said Morgan. 'In fact, there have been several other events staged in that area recently.' Stefano Passarello won last year's Sha Tin event and was planning to defend his title next month. 'I'm running the full marathon on Sunday and targeting a new personal best time of 2:26,' Passarello said. 'I was then planning to defend my title in the Sha Tin race with the aim of lowering my 10km personal best time, as this is probably the fastest 10km course in Hong Kong. 'The Hong Kong government displays a complete lack of common sense with issues such as this. How can something that has been staged successfully for the past seven years now be some sort of problem?'