THE recently concluded Asian Championships could be merged with the popular Ghafar Cup Asian men's team tournament into an expanded 10-day competition next year, which would also feature a women's team event for the first time. Secretary-general of the Asian Tennis Federation (ATF), Herman Hu, said a proposal to merge the two biggest intra-Asian events would be put forward at the ATF annual general meeting in Kuwait next March. 'The ATF want to hold the tournament along the lines of an Olympic format and there is strong support to include a women's event to the Ghafar Cup,' Hu said. 'This would mean lengthening the event to 10 days as there would be more matches and more players.' The Ghafar Cup is Asia's equivalent of the Davis Cup but is held as a one-week tournament. The Asian Championships have been held since 1989, the past four years in Hong Kong. ATF delegates will also decide at the AGM the venue for next year's Asian Championships, which was sponsored by tobacco manufacturers R. J. Reynolds (HK). China is one of the targets but organisers must wait until the Chinese People's Congress meeting in February, which will review the mainland's policy on tobacco sponsorship in sport. China this year staged the Salem Beijing Open, but there are moves within the Chinese Government to expand the tobacco-sponsorship ban on arts events to include sport.