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OCA President’s New Year Greeting for 2018

30 Dec 2017
From Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah

2018: Asian Games year and the start of Asia’s Olympic Era

Kuwait, December 30, 2017: On behalf of the Olympic Council of Asia I would like to wish everyone a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year 2018!. The coming year is extra special for the OCA as it will bring the 18th edition of our premier event, the Asian Games, in Indonesia.

For the first time in history, the Asian Games will have two host cities – Jakarta and Palembang, capital of South Sumatra province and a one-hour flight from the main capital. With strong support from the central government and from the local governments of Jakarta and Palembang, the OCA is confident that this dual hosting will be a big success.

We are also confident it will promote the best of Asian sport, as well as the Olympic values and Olympic spirit, to a vast new audience, as it will be the first time for Indonesia to host the Asian Games since 1962.

In order to take the message of the Asian Games to all corners of the continent, the OCA has organised the Asian Games Fun Run Series in various cities of Asia, with the support of the respective National Olympic Committees. This fun run series will culminate in the lighting of the Asian Games flame at the National Stadium in New Delhi – venue for the inaugural Asian Games in 1951 and Asia’s own symbolic “Olympia”. 

The flame will then be transported to Indonesia for the Torch Relay around the vast archipelago, arriving at the iconic Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in downtown Senayan, Jakarta, for the Opening Ceremony on August 18. The 18th Asian Games will run from August 18 to September 2 and involve 10,000 athletes and 5,000 officials from the OCA’s 45 National Olympic Committees.

There will be 40 sports, 67 disciplines and 462 events, plus e-sports as a demonstration event, so there is still a lot of work ahead as we hit the home straight regarding preparations for the 18th Asian Games. We will also be focusing on anti-doping in the next few months, working hand in hand with WADA and our Regional Anti-Doping Organisations, to try and ensure a doping-free Asian Games and to protect our clean athletes.

Education and awareness is a big part of this anti-doping campaign, and the OCA urges all athletes to check that any supplementary product they may take, for example concerning slimming/weight loss, does not contain a prohibited substance.

Our message to the athletes is check and check again to avoid any potential problems during a routine doping test before or during the Asian Games. Let’s work together to make the 18th Asian Games a clean games! The OCA is very proud of the Asian Games – and the 18th edition in 2018 will continue an unbroken four-year sequence dating back to the first Asian Games in 1951.

This is a remarkable achievement for the Olympic movement in Asia, and shows the power of international sport to bring together the youth in an environment of peace, friendship and tolerance during often turbulent and tragic times in regions of conflict.

Before our Asian Games begin, though, we will welcome in the “Asian Olympic Era” as PyeongChang, Korea will host the first of three successive Olympic Games in the region: the Winter Olympics in February 2018.

They will be followed by Tokyo 2020 and the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022, making the Chinese capital the first city to host both the Summer (2008) and Winter Games – another feather in the cap for Asia. Asia has proved itself to be a reliable and dynamic host of major multi-sport events, and the IOC has rewarded our continent with three consecutive Olympic Games.

This displays the power of Asia, and underlines our role as a major partner in the global Olympic movement.

There is plenty to look forward to in 2018.

Have a wonderful New Year – and see you in Jakarta and Palembang!
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