More teams pull out of Singer Rugby Asiad
RUGBY: Asia's No 1 ranked side Japan are definitely out of the Singer
Asiad to be staged in Colombo from November 3 to 10, and it's very
doubtful whether Asia's No 2 and 3 South Korea and Hong Kong too will
participate though the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) are
optimistic that the Koreans will respond positively "very soon".
International Rugby Board (IRB) Development Officer for Asia, Gerard
Gallaher, who was in Sri Lanka sometime back has promised to see whether
he could make use of his good office to try persuade Hong Kong to play
in Colombo, but the Sunday Observer reliably understands that New
Zealand are to tour Hong Kong in November.
Japan declined to play due to the Rugby World Cup (RWC) commitments
and they even postponed their domestic season to start in the third week
of October, Where South Korea is concerned, the SLRFU are yet
"negotiating' and there could be a chance that they (the Koreans) will
play in Colombo. The SLRFU are awaiting Korea's final decision.
Asia's No 5 Arabian Gulf "pulled out" of the Singer Asiad stating
that they find it difficult to raise money, while Singapore cited leave
problems for their players for their inability to play in Colombo.
Singapore are ranked No. 7 or 8 in behind Sri Lanka who are No. 6
This leaves only Kazakhstan (ranked Asia's No,4) to play in Colombo
together with Chinese Taipei, China, Thailand, Malaysia, India Pakistan,
the two debutantes (Iran and Qatar) and host country Sri Lanka to vie
for honours in Colombo at the Singer Asiad to be worked off at three
venues - Longden Place, Royal College Sports Complex and the Sugathadasa
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the SLRFU, Dilroy Fernando, told
the Sunday Observer that the draw has been made temporarily but has to
be approved by the Asian Rugby Football Union (ARFU).
The President of the SLRFU, DIG Nimal Lewke, who also heads the elite
Special Task Force (STF), said that during the Singer Asiad that an IRB
Level I and II Coached and Referees/Trainers Course too is scheduled to
be held and that every coach in the schools should have an IRB Level I
certificate before the next season (2008).
From next year (2008), the structure of the Asiad will be changed
with the top five countries (Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Arabian Gulf
and Kazakhstan) figuring in a Five-Nations tournament, while Sri Lanka
are in Division I with China, Singapore and Chinese Taipei. In the
Division II, are Malaysia, Thailand, India and Pakistan, while the other
12 countries will play each other in Regional Divisional tournaments.