Cricket ruled out of Doha Asian Games

Agence France Presse

New Delhi, July 25:

Cricket officials squandered the chance to showcase their sport in the Asian Games, a top official said on Monday. “We were keen to include cricket in the 2006 Asian Games, but the Asian Cricket Council was not willing to enter full strength national squads,” said Ahmed Al-Khulafi, Deputy Director-General of the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee. “The ACC wanted to give us an under-19 competition, which was not acceptable for us.” Randhir Singh, Secretary-General of the Olympic Council of Asia, said the Asian Games is meant to be a competition among top athletes. “We thought the ACC will realise the benefit from getting their sport into the Asian Games,” Singh said. “A substandard competition was not acceptable to the OCA for 2006, and only entry of top teams would be accepted if the game is to feature in future,” he said. Cricket failed to make the Asian Games schedule, but chess and triathlon grabbed the opportunity to make their games debut. Al-Khulafi said 39 sports would feature in the 2006 Asian Games. Qatar will be the first Arab country to host the continental games to be held from December 1-15, 2006.