HK tennis tournament postponed due to protests

Chinese player Wang Qiang at the Hong Kong Open tennis tournament 2017Image copyright
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The Hong Kong Open is one of many major sporting events in the territory

The Hong Kong Tennis Open, due to start on 5 October, has been postponed because of ongoing protests.

The organisers said they would be better placed to have a “smooth running tournament…[at a] later time”.

Hong Kong has for months been rocked by increasingly violent protests, triggered by an extradition bill.

The bill has now been withdrawn but protests have continued and have grown to reflect wider demands for democratic reform.

The Hong Kong Tennis Open was originally due to take place between 5-13 October.

It was to be held at Victoria Park – a vast green space with playgrounds as well as basketball and tennis courts – which has become the rallying point for many of Hong Kong’s anti-government marches.

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Thousands of protesters turned Victoria Park into a sea of umbrellas

“In light of the present situation, the event will no longer take place,” the Hong Kong Tennis Association and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said in a statement.

They said they were in “active discussion” to find a later date for the tournament, adding that the event attracted “thousands of local fans and overseas travellers” every year.

The event has in the past hosted athletes such as Caroline Wozniacki, Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams.

Transport to and from Hong Kong International Airport – one of the busiest in the region – has also seen major disruptions in recent weeks and protesters have targeted other major transport hubs.

The postponement comes just before another weekend of protest. Hong Kong police denied permission for a rally scheduled for Sunday, but it is expected to take go ahead regardless.

The protests started in June, after the Hong Kong parliament proposed a new law that would have enabled suspects in Hong Kong to be extradited to China.

Many in Hong Kong saw this as a sign of increasing mainland interference in the city’s affairs.

Leader Carrie Lam has now withdrawn the bill but demonstrations have continued and have developed to include demands for full democracy and an inquiry into police actions.

All the background you need on the Hong Kong protests

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