Date : 01 Jan 2019
New Year’s Day Message from the President of the Olympic Council of Asia,
His Excellency Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah
Kuwait City, January 1, 2019: On behalf of the Olympic Council of Asia it is my great pleasure to wish you all a Happy New Year for 2019.
Even though the OCA will not organise an international multi-sport games this year, there is still plenty to look forward to for our athletes, administrators and National Olympic Committees.
The main focus will be on preparing for the next Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020 – the second leg of the Asian “hat trick” following the success of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, Korea, last February and before the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, China.
The OCA always tries to provide the best possible environment and conditions for our athletes to thrive, and the coming year will be critical in terms of qualifying competitions and general preparations for Tokyo 2020.
Our 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, impressed the world last summer and the athletes produced world-class performances to match the occasion. Now is the time to set bigger goals and higher targets – and I am confident our Asian athletes will be among the best in Tokyo in the summer of 2020.
Although the OCA has no sports event this year, the planning and preparations for the 6th Asian Beach Games in Sanya, China, in November 2020 and the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China, in September 2022 will be stepped up.
This will involve regular visits by the OCA Coordination Committee to monitor the progress and a series of promotional events and activities by the two local organising committees.
With China's vast experience in organising major international sports events, the OCA is confident that the build-up will be smooth and efficient and that we can look forward to two successful games which will add value to the Olympic Movement in Asia.
Another main area of attention in 2019 will be gender equality in all aspects of the Olympic Movement, from the number of athletes on the field of play to the number of female members in the boardroom and in sports administration at all levels.
The OCA is very keen to support “Recommendation 11 – Foster Gender Equality” of the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Agenda 2020 strategic roadmap. By working with the International Federations, the goal is to achieve 50 per cent female participation in the Olympic Games and to stimulate women’s participation and involvement in sport by creating more participation opportunities at the Olympic Games.
The OCA, through our active Women and Sport Committee, will continue to work towards this target and also, with the support of our National Olympic Committees, to promote more female representation throughout the Olympic Movement in Asia.
On the sports front in 2019, Asia continues to play a leading role and be a major partner in the global sports movement by hosting some of the biggest championships in the world in the coming year.
The 18th FINA World Championships in six aquatic disciplines will take place in Gwangju, Korea, from July 12-28, and Doha, Qatar, will host the 17th IAAF World Athletics Championships from September 27 to October 6. The two sports - swimming and athletics - that form the backbone of any Summer Olympics both being held in Asia is another feather in the cap for the continent just one year out from Tokyo 2020.
There will also be another “first” for Asia when Japan stages the Rugby World Cup from September 20 to November 2. This will bring together fans from around the world and put Asia on the World Rugby map.
As for our Asian National Olympic Committees, who are very experienced at competing in five editions of the Asian Beach Games going back to 2008, they can look forward to the first ANOC World Beach Games hosted by the Association of National Olympic Committees in San Diego, California, from October 10-14.
With so many major events being held in Asia in the year before Tokyo 2020, there is a lot of sports history to be written in the coming months.
Happy New Year!
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