OCA braces for major events

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 14 2014 06:58 PM | Updated as of Jan 15 2014 02:58 AM

MANILA, Philippines - This year and the next couple more to come will be very busy years for the Olympic Council of Asia headed by Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait.

The 17th Asian Games will take place in Incheon, Korea from Sept. 19 to Oct. 14 to be followed shortly by the fourth Asian Beach Games in Phuket, Thailand on Nov. 14 to 23.

The Philippines will heavily participate in both events which will be on top of the agenda when the OCA holds its 32nd General Assembly at the Philippine International Convention Center on Saturday.

The fifth Asian Beach Games is set in Vietnam in 2016, followed by three more major events in 2017 – the eighth Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, the fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, and the third Asian Youth Games in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.

The staging of these events will be thoroughly discussed during the two-day affair. Others in the agenda are the reports of the OCA’s five regional vice presidents for West Asia, Central Asia, South Asia, South East Asia and East Asia, and the presentation of the OCA Merit Award.

From an international perspective there will be reports from the IOC’s Olympic Solidarity, the World Anti-Doping Agency on the new WADA Code and on the progress and plans for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2016.

More than a hundred OCA representatives from 45 member countries will be in Manila this week, according to Philippine Olympic Committee president Jose Cojuangco.

Highlight of the event is the Asian Games Centennial celebration. It was in Manila where the first Far Eastern Championship (now known as the Asian Games) was held in 1913.

While the OCA will shoulder the bulk of the expenses, including airfare and accommodation, the Philippines is rolling out the red carpet for the visitors.

“These are not ordinary people. These are the presidents of the different NOCs (National Olympic Committees). These are mostly VIPs,” Cojuangco said.

Sergey Bubka, the former Olympic and world champion in pole vault, is already in the country as current president of the Ukraine Olympic Committee.

The OCA president is expected to arrive a day before the executive board meeting is held Friday at the Sofitel Hotel, located just across the PICC.

Cojuangco said the Philippines should be glad that in the aftermath of Typhoon Yolanda, the OCA, especially its president, decided to stick to Manila as host.

“Pinag-aagawan ang hosting na ito (This hosting is much sought after) and yet they decided to choose us,” said Cojuangco of the event originally scheduled last November in Boracay.