INCHEON- The 33rd Olympic Council of Asia General Assembly was held at Songdo Convensia on Saturday, on the sidelines of the 17th Asian Games.
The main business of the morning session was the signing of the host city contract for the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2018.
Hanoi, capital of Vietnam, was due to host the next Asian Games – in 2019, one year before the Tokyo Olympics – but withdrew earlier this year due to economic problems.
Although Surabaya, Indonesia, missed out to Hanoi in the 2012 vote, the National Olympic Committee, with government support, came back and offered to host the next Asian Games in Jakarta, supported by Palembang, capital of South Sumatra.
The OCA President, HH Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, explained that Indonesia wanted to host the 18th Asian Games in 2018, rather than 2019, because of presidential elections in 2019, and met all the requirements of the OCA for hosting.
After a presentation from Indonesia, led by IOC member, OCA Executive Board member and Indonesian Olympic Committee President Rita Subowo, Sheikh Ahmad urged the delegates to approve the bid, and this was met with a round of applause.
Indonesia hosted the 4th Asian Games in 1962 and has since organised the inaugural Asian Beach Games in Bali in 2008 as well as the South East Asian Games in Palembang in 2011 and several other major international sports events.
The OCA President welcomed all the delegates to the General Assembly and said he was very proud to be sitting alongside the IOC President, Thomas Bach.
The German sports leader began his address by congratulating and thanking the Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee for hosting a “really great” opening ceremony of the 17th Asian Games the previous evening which “displayed in a unique way the harmony and sport in Asia.”
President Bach praised the “great leadership” of the OCA President, and that the Olympic Movement was witnessing a decade of Asia regarding the organisation of Olympic events, such as the recently concluded Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He also pointed out that Asia was providing two strong candidates for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Almaty, Kazakhstan, and Beijing, China.
“All this shows the growth and dynamism of sport in Asia, initiated and governed by the OCA,” he said. “This is the result of very hard work over many years.
“You have worked with great determination and consistency to reach new heights for sport in Asia, and the IOC is very grateful for this great success. The cooperation between the OCA and IOC has never been closer or better than now.”
The IOC President also spoke about his Olympic Agenda 2020 to reform the movement; the relationship with the United Nations to promote peace through sport, and how the Olympic Movement is opening up to society in general to guarantee its continued success.
The six OCA Merit Award winners for distinguished service to sport in Asia were:
Kim Young Soo, President, IAGOC; Khaled Al Hamad, Kuwait; Yousef Shaheen Alghanim, Kuwait; Park Yong Sung, OCA Vice President from Korea; Khin Maung Lwin, Joint Secretary General, Myanmar Olympic Committee; Mirabror Usmanov, President, Uzbekistan NOC.
The Sheikh Fahad Hiroshima Asia Fund Science Award: Qatar Sport Medicine Committee; and to Dr Lotfali Pourkazemi, President of Sports Medicine Federation of Iran.
There was also a signing ceremony for the Olympic Academy in Doha between the OCA and Qatar Olympic Committee.
The morning session incorporated presentations from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which is running an ad-hoc division at the Asian Games for the first time to arbitrate in any disputes, by Olympic Solidarity, the Association of National Olympic Committees and by the organising committees of Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018.
*The first OCA Partner Summit for Olympic sponsorship of NOCs will be held at Songdo Convensia on Sunday, September 21, from 9am-3pm, with registration from 8.30am. Delegates can hear presentations from major sports sponsors such as Aon, BP, Coca-Cola and Heineken and panel discussions between industry experts.