Oceania countries set to compete at 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou

Story from Inside the Games: https://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1076303/oceania-countries-set-to-compete-at-2022-asian-games-in-hangzhou

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Athletes from countries in Oceania are set to be invited to compete at the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, it was announced here today.

The number of athletes allowed to compete and in what sports will be decided at a later date.

it is expected that sports, such as boxing and rowing, where there are joint Asian and Oceania Olympic qualifying events will feature heavily.

The decision was announced here today at the 38th Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly.

It follows the successful participation of the Oceania countries at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) in Ashgabat in Turkmenistan.

Any athletes from Oceania who compete will be in addition to the quota of 10,000 already agreed by OCA and Hangzhou 2022.

Robin Mitchell, President of the Oceania National Olympic Committees, was in the General Assembly to hear the news.

Also present were representatives from several Oceania countries.

“We are very pleased with the announcement this morning,” Mitchell told delegates.

“Oceania and Asia are very close economically and politically – now we are coming closer together in sport.”

Athletes from 19 Oceania countries, including Fiji, competed at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat in Turkmenistan - an invitation now set to be extended to Hangzhou 2022 ©Ashgabat 2017
Athletes from 19 Oceania countries, including Fiji, competed at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat in Turkmenistan – an invitation now set to be extended to Hangzhou 2022 ©Ashgabat 2017

There are expected to be at least 27 Olympic sports on the programme at Hangzhou 2022.

It is unclear, though, at the moment how many will offer Olympic qualifying opportunities.

The idea of athletes from Australia and New Zealand and the Pacific countries taking part in the Asian Games has becoming increasingly discussed in recent years.

The OCA and Oceania National Olympic Committees have been working together to foster more competition and cooperation between the two regions with the initiative now bearing fruit.

Oceania were first invited by the OCA to compete at the 2017 Asian Winter Games, held in Japanese city Sapporo in February, but were ineligible to win medals.

They were allowed to compete for medals at the AIMAG, however, and four countries succeeded in making it on the podium.

Fiji were the strongest performing Oceanian nation at Ashgabat 2017 with one gold and one silver.

Marshall Islands were the next highest-ranked country with one silver, while Australia claimed two bronzes and Samoa secured one bronze.

Oceania athletes will be eligible for medals at Hangzhou 2022.

Australia are already members of the Asian Football Confederation, hosting and winning the Asian Cup in 2015 ©Getty Images
Australia are already members of the Asian Football Confederation, hosting and winning the Asian Cup in 2015 ©Getty Images

There is already a precedent for a country from Oceania competing in Asian competition.

Australia left the Oceania Football Confederation in 2007 to join the Asian Football Confederation.

The Socceroos now compete in the Asian Cup, hosting and winning the tournament in 2015, and qualify for the FIFA World Cup through the AFC.

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