NEW YEAR'S DAY MESSAGE FROM: H.E. SHEIKH AHMAD AL FAHAD AL SABAH: OCA looks forward to groundbreaking 2017




OCA looks forward to groundbreaking 2017

Kuwait, January 1, 2017: On behalf of the Olympic Council of Asia I would like to wish everyone involved in the Asian Sports Movement a very Happy New Year for 2017!

The OCA has two major multi-sport events to look forward to in the coming months: our 8th Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, in February and our 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, in September.

This will be the third time Sapporo has hosted our Asian Winter Games, and the fourth time for Japan, and we are very confident that Sapporo 2017 will be a great success.

The 1972 Winter Olympics host city has vast experience in staging world-class winter sports events at world-class venues, and we know we can rely on Sapporo and on Japan to put on a world-class Asian Winter Games from February 19-26.

There will be added interest this time, as athletes from two Oceania National Olympic Committees - Australia and New Zealand - will be competing alongside Asian NOCs, but as guests in individual events only and, therefore, not eligible to win medals.

Still, this will add value to our Asian Winter Games, while strengthening the bond and cooperation between the OCA and Oceania.

Furthermore, our 8th Asian Winter Games will come just one year before the next Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea, in February 2018. For Asia’s winter sports powers such as China, Korea, Japan and Kazakhstan, this will provide top international competition as they continue their preparations for PyeongChang 2018.

We are sure all these factors will make our Asian Winter Games in Sapporo and co-host city Obihiro even more attractive to media and spectators alike, and that the competitions will bring the crowds flocking to the snowy mountains and iconic ice rinks of the beautiful capital of Hokkaido Island.

Our second big event of 2017 is the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Ashgabat, from September 17-27.

The OCA’s 45 NOCs will be joined, for the first time in history, by 17 NOCs from the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC), and these 62 NOCs will provide 5,500 athletes to compete in 21 sports in this groundbreaking joint initiative.

I have visited Turkmenistan several times in the past few years and I can promise you some of the best sports facilities I have ever seen will be awaiting the athletes for AIMAG 5.

The Olympic Complex of Ashgabat is a spectacular accomplishment, with more than 30 competition venues and related infrastructure, and is testament to the emphasis placed on sport and a healthy lifestyle by the President of Turkmenistan, His Excellency Mr Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.

Elsewhere, Asia continues to be a leading player in world-level multi-sport games, as Almaty, Kazakhstan, will host the 28th Winter Universiade at the end of January, and Taipei City will welcome the 29th Summer Universiade in August.

In a busy year for our friends in South East Asia, the 29th SEA Games will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in August, and a series of test events in 10 sports will take place in Jakarta, Indonesia, in November, ahead of the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang in August 2018.

With our next Asian Games just 20 months away, the OCA calls on all NOCs, Asian Federations and other stakeholders to work quickly and efficiently with the organising committee INASGOC throughout 2017 to pave the way for a smooth and successful 18th Asian Games 2018.

The Indonesian organisers have no time to waste in their preparations, so let’s show our unity and solidarity once again by working as a team in the exciting and busy months ahead.


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