Strong possibility of S. Korea, Hong Kong playing in Colombo at
There is a strong possibility of both South Korea and Hong Kong
agreeing to complete at the Singer Asian Rugby Championships to be
staged in Colombo from November 3 to 10, although the participation of
Japan, Singapore and Arabian Gulf is very doubtful.
The President of the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU), DIG
Nimal Lewke, who also heads the elite Special Task Force (STF), told the
Sunday Observer yesterday that Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore
and Arabian Gulf have not confirmed their participation as yet, and that
these five countries have been given time till Saturday (September 22)
to clearly state whether they will compete in Colombo or not.
"I am certain that both South Korea and Hong Kong will play in
Colombo. Hong Kong RFU wanted us (the SLRFU) to make another request and
we did so about two days back. South Korea have taken over the
Presidency of the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU) and I have a gut
feeling that they too will play in Colombo" said DIG Nimal Lewke, who
also headed the ADFU quite recently.
DIG Lewke said that the Singer Asiad will be restricted to 12
countries due to budgetary restrictions and that the 10 nations who have
already confirmed participation are China, India, Malaysia, Thailand,
Qatar, Chinese Taipei, Kazakhaztan, Pakistan, Iran and Sri Lanka. Both
Qatar and Iran will be making their debut in the Asiad.
"The Foreign Ministry are in contact with the five countries who are
yet to confirm and they have appointed an officer to attend to this
matter. The Tourist Board and SriLankan Airlines too are involved in
their promotional activities and I am certain that we (the SLRFU) could
make this a successful Asiad" said DIG Lewke.
This is the final year that the Asiad is being conducted in the
present format. From next year (2008), the structure is to be changed
with the top five nations figuring in a Five-Nations Series on a home
and away basis. As it stands now, the top five countries in Asia are
Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Arabian Gulf and Kazakhastan.
Sri Lanka who are now ranked No 6 are in the Division I group with
China, Singapore and Chinese Taipei, while the four nations in the
Division II are Malaysia, Thailand, India and Pakistan. The Division I
tournament might be staged in Colombo next year (2008) and will be one
of the matters to be discussed at the next Council meeting of the ARFU
to be held in Colombo during the Asiad in November.
The 12 other countries (Philippines, Guam, Macau, Indonesia, Brunei,
Laos, Kampuchea, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Iran and Qatar) are
in the other Regional Divisions.