Hong Kong karate body suspended – but their athletes are still eligible for Asian Games
In an unprecedented move, the local Olympic committee punishes the federation for maladministration and unfair selection policies
Karate athletes’ participation in the Asian Games will not be affected by the immediate suspension of their association following a special resolution by the Olympic Committee and Sports Federation of Hong Kong (SFOC).
At a general meeting of the committee at Olympic House on Friday, the Hong Kong Karatedo Federation was – in an unprecedented move – sanctioned for maladministration and unfair selection of athletes for competitions. The committee received more than 90 per cent majority support.
“The suspension is indefinite until they review and revise their statutes to address their governance and demonstrate appropriate measures have been made to ensure a proper selection system of athletes,” said SFOC honorary secretary Ronnie Wong Man-chiu. “But athletes’ interest will be protected and they can still enter the Asian Games in Indonesia this summer as we are going to set up a provisional panel for the selection of athletes.”
Wong said the suspension meant the Karatedo Federation no longer had the right to select athletes to represent Hong Kong in multi-sport games under SFOC jurisdiction. They are also banned from taking part in all SFOC meetings, events or programmes.
Tony Choi Yuk-kwan, deputy chief executive of the Sports Institute and a member of the provisional selection panel, remained confident Hong Kong could still send a strong team to Indonesia.
“Karate is a tier A programme at the Institute and there is no immediate change in our support to the athletes,” he said. “The athletes have been working very hard for the Asian Games and obviously they do not want to this opportunity to be wasted.
“At this stage, we can’t say how many athletes will go to Jakarta because the selection process will only begin after the resolution has been made but we are confident a strong team will be selected.”
Hong Kong won a silver medal through Lee Ka-wai in the men’s under-75kg at the last Asian Games and Grace Lau Mo-sheung is a medal favourite for Jakarta following her recent gold medal in the women’s kata in the Premier League in Rabat, Morocco.
Chairman of the Karatedo Federation, Kenny Yu Kang-chau, who also attended the meeting, was disappointed with the outcome, adding they would lodge an appeal.
The association called for a vote of confidence from the committee members but their effort was apparently in vain. In an open letter to members before the meeting, they said they had fully addressed the problems highlighted in the complaints made against them and pledged to continuously improve themselves.
The Karatedo Federation escaped sanction once before when the Olympic committee called a general meeting in March for the same reason. Instead, they were asked to submit a set of corporate improvement plans. However, the federation’s efforts have apparently failed to satisfy the Olympic committee.