India’s diminishing role in Olympic Council of Asia
India’s control over the Olympic Council of Asia is fading into oblivion. If the minutes of the last general assembly meeting of the Olympic Council of Asia held in Bangkok on Sunday are any indication, none of the Indians figure in the front category office-bearers of the Olympic body of the continent.
Until a few years ago, Raja Randhir Singh, who was the founder Secretary General of the Olympic Council of Asia, held a few important positions in the Council, including Honorary Life Vice-President.
Now, as the Honorary Life Vice-President of the Council, he monitors the progress of preparation of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
This will be the third time China will host Asian Games, following Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010,
As the founder of the Asian Games Federation (AGF), it was India that organized the inaugural Asian Games in 1951 in New Delhi and again in 1982. At times, all key positions, both in the Asian Games Federation and later the Olympic Council of Asia, were held by Indians, especially top office-bearers of the Indian Olympic Association.
However, this association with the OCA appears to be a thing of the past.
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In Bangkok, the OCA General Assembly unanimously re-elected Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah as its President for a four-year term alongside eight OCA Vice Presidents.
Sheikh Ahmad was the sole candidate for the position and will serve from 2019 to 2023. Elections for the Vice Presidents followed the presidential election. The following representatives from each of the five regions were unanimously elected:
• Vice President – East Asia: Timothy Fok (Hong Kong)
• Vice President – South East Asia: Maj-Gen Charouck Arirachakran (Thailand)
• Vice President – Central Asia: Timur Kulibayev (Kazakhstan)
• Vice President – South Asia: Lt. Genl. Seyed Arif Hasan (Pakistan)
• Vice President – West Asia: Dr. Thani Al-Kuwari (Qatar)
The following Vice Presidents were appointed based on their function within the OCA and approved by the General Assembly:
• Vice President – 2020 Asian Beach Games & 2022 Asian Games: Mr. Song Luzeng
• Vice President – 2026 Asian Games: Mr. Tsunekazu Takeda
• Vice President – ANOC: Mr. Yu Zaiqing
OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said:
“I would like to express my gratitude to Asia’s NOCs for putting their faith in me to serve as OCA President for another four-year term. I made it clear to the NOCs that I would leave it up to them to decide whether I should stand for President. I am here to serve them and I was humbled by their response. I will work hard over the next four years to repay this trust and ensure the best possible support for the NOCs of Asia and their athletes.
“As we have said, this is a very exciting time for the Olympic Movement in Asia. The next two Olympic Games following PyeongChang 2018 are in Asia and our OCA events are very stable with most hosts for the next decade already decided. We heard very encouraging reports from many of our future hosts during this General Assembly and we will follow up with them as partners to provide the best environment for our athletes.”
As per the OCA Constitution, the Chair and members of the Ethics Commission and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer were also elected by the OCA General Assembly:
Chairman: Wei Jizhong (China)
• Prof Charoen Wattanasin (Thailand)
• Debendranath Sarangi (India)
• Adam Yernar (Kazakhstan)
• Mohammad Al-Dhabhan (Saudi Arabia)
Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer: Prof. Rashid Al-Enzi (Kuwait)
All other Chairs of the Standing Committees were proposed by the OCA President and will be announced in due course.
During the General Assembly, Shantou, China was confirmed as the host city of the 3rd Asian Youth Games in 2021. Shantou boasts world-class existing facilities, a robust transport network and a rich culture.
There were also reports on the upcoming 2022 Asian Games, 2026 Asian Games and 2020 Asian Beach Games. For the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, the excellent work being carried out by the Organizing Committee was noted with the main stadium already in place and construction for the Asian Games Village having already begun. It was also confirmed that athletes from Oceania would be permitted to take part in the Games. The dates for the Games on 10-25 September 2022 were confirmed.
It was reported that the following edition of the Asian Games in Aicha-Nagyoa 2026 plan to establish its Organizing Committee in May or June 2019 and is currently working on its Master Plan, which will be submitted to the OCA in November.
For the 2020 Asian Beach Games in Sanya, which will be held on 28 November to 6 December 2020, it was reported that excellent progress is also being made. Three beaches, all major tourist attractions, will be used to accommodate the sports which were approved by the General Assembly.
Updates were also given by Tokyo 2020, Beijing 2022, ANOC, Olympic Solidarity, and WADA before each of the OCA Standing Committee Chairs delivered progress reports on the work of their Committees. The Ethics Commission’s report informed the General Assembly that it had reviewed the cases of Sheikh Ahmad and Tsunekazu Takeda. Based on the information available, no action was required. The Ethics Commission reiterated individual right to the presumption of innocence.
It was confirmed that the next OCA General Assembly will take place in Sanya during next year’s Asian Beach Games
OCA President Sheikh Ahmad concluded:
“We will always respect our relationship with other international organizers. We will always be a part and a partner of the Olympic movement. We respect everybody but we will keep our Asian identity, because we are proud of it.”
– PTC NEWS