Cricket wins 2014 survival battle
Guangzhou: Cricket will remain part of the 2014 Asian Games despite fears the sport faced the axe as part of a radical streamlining, a news agency reports.
Cricket is making its debut at the Games here, but organisers of the 2014 edition in Incheon, South Korea, a country where the sport remains a mystery, wanted it chopped from the programme.
That followed a decision by the Olympic Council of Asia to limit the number of sports in future Games to 35, with 28 from the Olympic Games and a maximum of seven to reflect the sporting culture of Asia’s five zones.
But an international cricket source told AFP that the sport will be on the programme in four years’ time.
Officials were delighted that furious lobbying in recent days had prompted the Koreans into a change of heart and the news was greeted with enthusiasm and relief.
“We at the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) are very confident that cricket won’t be removed from the Asian Games,” said ACC chief executive Ashraful Huq.
“It took a lot of effort to include cricket in the Games and we definitely don’t want it to go.
“I have given the OCA and the Koreans a letter that we will take care of all the costs, the development of the infrastructure and also conduct the whole competition.”
“That was a guarantee they needed, and I have given it to them. So I am confident. The announcement should come in a day or two from the OCA.”
Asian Games cricket made its bow in China on Saturday with the hosts comfortably defeating Malaysia in the women’s tournament, although only a small crowd gathered to witness the historic moment.
Incheon had been hoping to include baseball, bowling, kabaddi, sepaktakraw, softball, squash and wushu alongside the 28 sports on the list for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.