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Volume 6 No. 212

Events and Attractions

The Hong Kong Tennis Association "is negotiating to bring a women's professional tournament to Victoria Park" in Sept '14 with financial backing from the government, according to Alvin Sallay of the SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST. However, limited seating capacity "could prove to be a major stumbling block in attracting more than one player from the world's top 10." HKTA President Vincent Liang said that the association "was looking at buying a WTA Int'l Series tournament," offering total prize money of $220,000. The government agreed to pay for the license, "which could cost several million dollars." It is understood that "the owners of the tournament wishing to sell their licence are in Luxembourg," which hosts a $220,000 event with a 32-draw singles and a 16-draw doubles tournament. Liang said, "The event is currently held around the end of October, but we hope to apply to the WTA to move it to the second week of September, which is one week before the Guangzhou Open." Hong Kong Home Affairs Deputy Secretary Jonathan McKinley said, "We have assured the tennis association we will earmark resources to help them secure a recognised international tennis event for Hong Kong. The process of securing and organising an event is up to the association as the governing body for the game" (SCMP, 9/19).

Singapore will encourage tourists to "spend more by offering marquee events and attractions" such as the F1 night race as a faltering global recovery threatens to curtail growth in visitor arrivals, according to Sharon Chen of BLOOMBERG. Singapore's Second Trade Minister S. Iswaran revealed that the F1 night race, which is in its fifth year, attracts about 40,000 visitors to the island annually and "adds an average of S$140M ($114M) to tourism revenue." This year’s Grand Prix will take place this weekend. Companies such as Singapore Telecommunications Ltd. and UBS AG have been attracted by the F1 race and "have flown in clients and partners for networking events around the race." Entertainment is seen as a "key component," and tickets to this year's race offer access to concerts by performers including Maroon 5, Katy Perry and Jay Chou. Senior Regional Economist at Barclays Plc in Singapore Wai Ho Leong said, "There are a lot of events hosted around F1 that are pinned to the uniqueness of F1 as a night race. The race is important, but even more important are the deals that go around it, that are made here." Iswaran said that negotiations to extend Singapore’s contract for another five years are under way, and "both parties will decide before the middle of '13" (BLOOMBERG, 9/19).

Japan Olympic table tennis Silver Medalist Kasumi Ishikawa has become "the latest sporting victim of a political crisis over disputed islands" after she withdrew from a World Cup event because Chinese organizers "could not guarantee her safety," according to Patrick Johnston of REUTERS. The decision was made two days before the start of the tournament in Huangshi, China. Japan Table Tennis Association General Secretary Masahiro Maehara said that they had been forced to withdraw her after "hearing from their Chinese counterparts that her safety could not be guaranteed." Maehara: "Ishikawa was looking forward to playing so it really is disappointing, but the Chinese association has told us it wants to maintain friendly relations with Japan in the future" (REUTERS, 9/19). KYODO reported that the Japan Triathlon Union said that it has decided "not to send a contingent of nine players and coaches" to participate in the long distance Asian championships starting Sunday in Weihai, China. JTU Senior Dir Shinichiro Otsuka said, "Some of our athletes have had water thrown on them over the meet this month in China. We cannot ensure their safety" (KYODO, 9/19).

English golfer Nick Faldo "is turning his attention to Nepal in a bid to help young golfers from across the Himalayan region" after his global golf development program made a successful debut at Siem Reap's Angkor Golf Resort last week in Cambodia. Similar to Cambodia, Nepal will be staging the Faldo Series Asia event for the first time, and golfers from Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Northern India will be included (PHNOM PENH POST, 9/19). ... The Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open will return to Castle Stuart Golf Links for the third successive year in '13, before moving to a new venue at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club in '14. The European Tour also confirmed an increase in the total prize fund for '13 and '14, from £2.5M ($4M) to £3M ($4.9M), with the champion receiving £500,000 (European Tour).