Held every 4 years, the Asian Games is the world’s largest multi-sport event outside of the Olympics. 46 nations have historically competed in the production, whose next edition is to be held by Jakarta, Indonesia in 2018. Hoping to join the party one Games later is Australia, who is pursuing bringing a full delegation of athletes to the 2022 version set for Hangzhou, China.
Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) President John Coates is spearheading the quest for the nation’s inclusion, with the decision reportedly set to be discussed at the Olympic Council of Asia’s (OCA) meeting in September.
Of Australia’s pursuit of being included in the Asian Games, Coates says,”Discussions are underway and I believe there would be great interest in the Asian Games amongst our member sports.
“Particularly in sports where the Asian countries are strong (such as) gymnastics, badminton and table tennis.
“I believe participating in the Asian Games would be very good for us.” (The Strait Times)
However, not all parties involved in the decision agree with Coates. Olympic Council of Malaysia Secretary-General Low Beng Choo says, for example, “[Australia] that the Asian Games was started by Asia and the Asian people have worked very hard to build it.”
As a counter-suggestion, Low asks suggested that Australia initiate the creation of a multi-sport Games specifically for Oceania. She says, “The Europeans started their own Games, and there’s also the Pan-American Games. Isn’t it about time they have their own continental Games? The ‘bigger boys’ also have a responsibility to help build and help their region grow.” (The Strait Times)
Australia does compete in the quadrennial competition of the Commonwealth Games, whose next edition is set to be hosted on the Gold Coast in 2018. The nation also competes in the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships, held every 4 years, with the nations of Japan, China, South Korea, among others, included.
Australia has previously sent 30 athletes to the Asian Winter Games as a ‘guest’ delegation after having received an OCA invitation. Additionally, in FIVB competition, Australia’s volleyball squad competes as part of the Asian Confederation.