The 40th OCA General Assembly in Dubai
The 40th OCA General Assembly in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

The Olympic Council of Asia’s 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China next September will make history as it will be the first time that athletes from Oceania will compete alongside their Asian counterparts.

The OCA announced at its 40th General Assembly in Dubai on Sunday that 300 athletes from Oceania’s 17 National Olympic Committees will be able to compete in five sports: triathlon, athletics, wushu, roller skating and weightlifting.

Furthermore, the Director General of the OCA, Husain Al Musallam, said that athletes from Oceania finishing in the top three places would receive honorary medals.

“Oceania will be taking part for the first time at the Asian Games. They will receive honorary medals and it will not be counted in the final medals tally,” the OCA Director General told the Asian NOC delegates at the Dubai Hilton Al Habtoor City.

The General Assembly heard that six of the 17 NOCs from the Oceania National Olympic Committees had started the sports entry process for the 19th Asian Games, which will run from September 10-25, 2022 in Hangzhou in eastern China.

There will be 40 sports, 61 disciplines and 482 events, with break dancing and esports making their debut as official medal sports.

Esports was a demonstration sport at the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia in 2018, while ‘breaking’ will join the Asian Games sports programme for the first time, two years before its Olympic Games debut at Paris 2024.

Of the 55 competition venues for the 19th Asian Games, 42 have been completed, the organising committee said, and the 10,000 athletes will be accommodated in the main Asian Games Village and five satellite villages in Zhejiang province.

The OCA has the next four Asian Games in place, with Hangzhou 2022 followed by Aichi-Nagoya, Japan in 2026, Doha, Qatar in 2030 and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 2034.

“This shows the stability and the unity within the Olympic sports movement in Asia,” said Al Musallam. “The next available date for hosting our Asian Games is 2038 so this puts the OCA and all our NOCs in a very strong position to plan for the short-term, mid-term and long-term future.”