Despite talks of Oceanic nations being added to the quadrennial Asian Games having cooled in the past, the nations have now been invited to compete in Olympic team events, including football, volleyball, beach volleyball, fencing and basketball at the next edition in 2022.
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.
As a refresher, in February of 2017, we reported how Australia was hoping to join the Asian Games party, with its Olympic Committee President, John Coates, pursuing bringing a full delegation of athletes to the 2022 version set for Hangzhou, China.
However, in September of that same year, the idea was nixed, with Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah saying, “We cannot go for the main Games because Asian Games has a maximum of 15,000 participants.”
Flash forward to today, however, and Oceania’s inclusion in the 2022 Asian Games was confirmed at the Olympic Council of Asia’s General Assembly in Bangkok, although it’s limited to sports which qualify for Paris 2024 through Asia.
“Australia is very grateful for this opportunity which was confirmed this weekend and there will be enormous interest from our Oceania neighbours. This is something I have been pursuing for more than 20 years,” says AOC President Coates.
“There’s a cap of 10,000 athletes for these games so there will need to be some decisions made along the way about which Australian men’s and women’s team will compete, but the critical thing is our place is confirmed for Hangzhou 2022 and that’s a very positive outcome for us” Mr Coates concluded.”
Oceanic nations have long been affiliated with Asian sports organizations, so their inclusion isn’t something out of left field. The Asian Volleyball Confederation, for example, has 65 member countries including Australia.
Quotes courtesy of Australian Olympic Committee.