(ATR) The Olympic Council of Asia selects a new Asian Games host and takes action to improve its marquis multi-sport events.
Meeting in Danang, Vietnam on the sidelines of the 5th Asian Beach Games, the OCA has confirmed Aichi-Nagoya, Japan as the host for the 2026 Asian Games.Nagoya, capital of the Aichi Prefecture, was the only candidate.
Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia will host the 2018 edition and Hangzhou, China the 2022.
OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah called the selection of the Japanese city a good move .
"The road map of our main event is very stable. Together with our three Asian Games in 2018, 2022 and 2026, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the next two Winter Olympics in Korea and China in 2018 and 2022 respectively, the sports calendar of Asia will be very busy with continental and international events."
Nagoya, home to 7.5 million people, will be the third Japanese host of the Asian Games.
Nagoya Mayor, Takashi Kawamura added am amusing twist to the presentation to the OCA General Assembly on Sunday, singing his version of the Elvis Presley song "Fools Rush In".
"Wise men say, only fools rush in. But I can’t help falling in love with Asian people, Asian Games in Nagoya and Aichi," is how the Mayor redid the lyrics.
"Are we voting for the city or the song?" asked an amused Sheikh Ahmad.
Asian Winter Games To Invite Oceania
For the Asian Winter Games, next edition coming this February in Sapporo, Japan, teams from Oceania, including Australia and New Zealand could be invited to the competition. Upon a request by Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates, the OCA has given approval pending an okay from the event organizers in Japan.
Coates made the request as a way to take advantage of the Winter Asian Games as a high level competition for winter athletes from the Oceania region. Under the proposal athletes would participate but not be eligible for medals and no teams will be invited.
"The OCA Executive Board has approved this proposal and we are waiting for the approval of Sapporo city," said OCA president Sheikh Ahmad al Fahd al Sabah.
Initial indications from Sapporo are positive for the addition of the Oceania athletes .
No Move Yet for OCA Headquarters
There appears to be a glimmer of hope that the nasty dispute between the government of Kuwait and the OCA could be settled with the decision not to move the headquarters from Kuwait to another country.
For the better part of two years the government and national sports bodies as well as the OCA have been at odds over actions that are viewed as attacks on the autonomy of the Olympic movement. The IOC has suspended the Kuwait NOC while FIFA is among the international federations which have dropped their recognition of Kuwaiti national sports federations. Talks between the IOC and the Kuwait government have yet to yield any resolution.
But meeting in Danang, the OCA Executive has stopped short of moving, despite as many as ten proposals from cities in Asia to host the headquarters. Instead the OCA has agreed to establish five regional offices as well as open a new office in IOC headquarters city Lausanne.
Kuwait will remain the office for West Asia with new offices in Bangkok, Almaty, Delhi and the Chinese city of Nansha.
Bach in Danang
OC President Thomas Bach was on hand for the opening of the Asian Beach Games and the general assembly this weekend.
In remarks to the assembly he said that the "century of Asia" is upon the Olympics with the next three Games in the continent, the 2018 Winter Olympics in Korea, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.
"This is an unprecedented achievement having three consecutive games on your continent," he said.
Bach arrived in Vietnam from South Korea where he held met with sports ministers from all three of these upcoming host cities. He says the gathering showed "Asian unity in your diverse continent."
"The Olympic movement is counting on Asia and relying on the great contribution you are making to our worldwide effort," the IOC president said.
Asian Games Notes
In a move to limit the size of the Asian Games and provide more opportunities for all nations to compete, countries participating in the event will be limited to no more than two entries for each individual event.
Until now, countries have been allowed to enter as many athletes as they wished.
"We are getting the best two from each NOC and we are giving a chance to other NOCs to win medals," said the OCA president.
The Asian Games now draw more than 10,000 athletes and 5,000 officials from 45 countries.
Surfing will be the only one of the five new sports for Tokyo 2020 not on the program for the 2018 Asian Games. Lack of a suitable venue is the reason.
The Asian Beach Games will now be held every four years instead of every two. Founded in 2008, the next edition was supposed to take place in 2018 but has been postponed until 2020. Lack of suitable candidates to host the event is largely behind the change.
Plans to hold the 2017 Asian Youth Games in Jakarta have been dropped. The event was to be a test event for the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, but organizers say they do not have the resources to stage the event. The next Asian Youth Games are now set for 2021 also in Indonesia, ahead of the 2022 Asian Games.
Written by Ed Hula.