January 7 - Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), sees his organisation's General Assembly in Manila later this month as an opportunity to show "unity, solidarity and support" following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan.
The tropical cyclone, which struck on November 8 and led to the death of 6,000 people as well as untold damage to infrastructure and water supplies throughout the Southeast Asian nation, forced the postponement of the original OCA meeting which had been scheduled for Boracay Island later in November.
"The Philippines has endured a traumatic few weeks after Super Typhoon Haiyan (known locally as Yolanda) struck on November 8, causing death and destruction on an unprecedented scale with the loss of some 6,000 souls," the Sheikh said in his New Year Message.
"Our hearts go out to the happy, joyous people of the Philippine Islands, and by holding our General Assembly in the capital city we want to show our unity, solidarity and support
in these difficult times."
Elsewhere in his message the Sheikh, who is also an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member and President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), highlighted how 2014 will follow in the footsteps of a successful 2013 for Asian sport.
As well as holding events such as the Asian Youth Games in Nanjing in August, 2013 also saw Japanese capital Tokyo awarded the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games and this will follow the South Korean city Pyeongchang hosting the 2018 Winter version.
The Sheikh highlighted the second Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing and the 4th Asian Beach Games in Phuket as major events to come, before describing how "2014 holds extra significance for the Olympic Movement in Asia because it is an Asian Games year, with the 17th edition of the OCA's showpiece event due to take place in Incheon, Korea, from September 19 to October 4."
"With vast experience in organising Asian Games, Olympic Games and many other world-class sports events, we have every confidence that the Koreans will put on a superb show and a true festival of sport and culture for the four billion Asians," he added.
"The Asian Games gives all 45 National Olympic Committees affiliated to the OCA the opportunity to present their best athletes to the world and strive for gold, silver and bronze.
The Sheikh also mentioned the Winter Olympics set to take place in Sochi next month and highlighted how "Asia has become very competitive in winter sports at the highest level".
"We wish all our National Olympic Committees the best of luck in their quest for medals against the winter sports super powers from Europe and North America," he said.
Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]
December 2013: Postponed Olympic Council of Asia General Assembly rescheduled for Manila
November 2013: OCA General Assembly in Philippines postponed due to devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan