Cricket, karate on 2014 Asian Games program

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Associated Press

Posted on November 15, 2010 at 3:02 AM

Updated Monday, Nov 15 at 3:35 AM

GUANGZHOU, China (AP) — The Olympic Council of Asia confirmed on Monday that cricket and karate will be among the non-Olympic sports for the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon, South Korea.

OCA chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah told a media conference that the regional body had decided it wanted cricket and karate for 2014, but that it had not decided on the other sports for the Incheon program.

The Associated Press first reported on Saturday that the OCA would retain the two sports.

Both sports are apparently not on the wish-list of South Korean organizers, which want baseball, bowling, kabaddi, sepak takraw, softball, squash and wushu as the non-Olympic sports at Incheon.

The OCA released a statement on the weekend saying it had deferred a final decision, but said it would "like to see cricket included due to high spectator interest and TV ratings, and karate because of its Asian roots and global popularity."

The Asian Games is second only to the Summer Olympics in scale, with this edition featuring more than 10,000 athletes in 42 sports.

On Friday, OCA honorary life vice president Wei Jizhong had backed cricket's inclusion at Incheon by describing the sport as "very popular and influential in Asia."

Cricket made its Asian Games debut at Guangzhou and despite claims from organizers that the stadium was sold out, only roughly 500 spectators turned up at the 6,500-capacity Guanggong Cricket Stadium to watch the Chinese women beat Malaysia in the opening match.

Japanese Olympic Committee president Tsunekazu Takeda was in favor of karate's inclusion at the 2014 games and said there were 178 countries in the international federation.

Shin Yong-suk, the OCA vice president from South Korea, earlier said he believed there would be little interest in cricket in his country even in four year. He said cricket did not have a national federation in South Korea.

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