Olympic Council general assembly a royal gathering

By Abac Cordero, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jan 16 2014 08:27 PM | Updated as of Jan 17 2014 04:27 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait, president of the Olympic Council of Asia, will pay President Aquino a courtesy call today in Malacañang.

The 50-year-old dignitary will be accompanied to the Palace by Philippine Olympic Committee head Jose Cojuangco and OCA director general and technical director Husain Al-Musallam.

The courtesy call comes two days before the OCA holds its general assembly at the PICC, an event to be attended by more than a hundred delegates from 45 member countries.

Al-Sabah, OCA president since 1991, was scheduled to arrive last night on board his private jet.

There’s no definite agenda between the President and Al-Sabah but they can surely talk about sports, politics and business, including possible investments in the Philippines.

Al-Sabah, who heads the Kuwait Olympic Committee and its football federation and is also involved with hand ball, is not just a sportsman. He served the Kuwait Army from 1985 to 1990 and as Kuwaiti Minister of Information.

Al-Sabah also served as Minister of Energy and chairman of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation and OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries).

Aside from Al-Sabah, a big number of VIPs are due for OCA’s executive board meeting tomorrow at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza and Saturday’s general assembly.

It’s actually a royal gathering.

They include Prince Jefri Bolkia of Brunei; Tsunekazu Takeda, who is head of the Japan Olympic Committee and OCA vice president and son of Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda; and Tengku Abdullah, first in line to the Malaysian throne.

“Tourism and business investment wise this is a big opportunity for the Philippines,” said Cojuangco.

International Olympic Committee vice president John Coates of Australia is also arriving after IOC president Thomas Bach of Germany begged off due to previous commitments.

Jacques Rogge, the former IOC chief, was also Invited but said he couldn’t come.

The legendary Sergey Bubka, 1988 Olympic gold medalist and six-time world champion in pole vault, has been in the country since last Saturday and visited Boracay. He heads the Ukraine Olympic Committee.

Vinod KumarTiwari, director for International and National Olympic Relations of OCA, arrived ahead of the other delegates.

Jose Romasanta, POC vice president, said close to 500 guests have been invited to tomorrow’s formal dinner at Sofitel, marking the Asian Games Centennial celebration.

Vice President Jejomar Binay will be the keynote speaker in Saturday’s general assembly. It’s the first time the OCA is holding its general assembly in the country.