January 18 - Turkmenistan will host the 2015 Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly, it was announced here today.
With today's event being the 2013 Assembly, postponed from November due to Typhoon Haiyan, the 2015 version will follow this year's event to be held in September alongside the Asian Games in Incheon.
It was also announced that the 2016 OCA General Assembly is due to be held in Cambodia.
This announcements consolidates the rising profile of Turkmenistan,whose capital Ashgabat is due to host the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in 2017 at the new Olympic Complex, while the landlocked central nation has also revealed intentions to bid to host Asian Games in the future, possibly 2023.
Following a visit earlier in the week in which he inspected venues for the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games and met President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah claimed "these Games will be at the standard of the Olympic Games in terms of size, number, Olympic Village, logistics, media hotel, VIPs and hospitals."
"It is a very compact set-up, with five minutes to walk to the venues," he added.
Following welcoming speeches by both the Philippines vice-president Jejomar Binay and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) chief Jose "Peping" Cojuangco, as well as by Sheikh Ahmad, the Assembly discussed a range of other issues including future continental events, the recognition of new sports, commercial support and educational programmes.
Reviews also took place reflecting on the success of past events, including the Nanjing 2013 Asian Youth Games.
Official OCA recognition was approved for the Asian Sambo Union, a popular form of wrestling in Central Asia with 23 member national federations, while the OCA work in terms of anti-doping and in widening sponsorship opportunities for National Olympic Committees was also highlighted.
The annual OCA Award Ceremony also took place, where Sheikh Ahmad was joined by International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president John Coates and Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa President Lassana Palenfo, to present awards to five recipients.
These included Cojuangco as well as representatives from China, Thailand, Nepal and Bangladesh.
In further recognition of the Philippines recovery following Typhoon Haiyan, Sheikh Ahmad announced the OCA, together with the IOC and Olympic Solidarity Programme would each pledge $150,000 (£91,000/€111,000) in support, while the Japan Olympic Committee awarded $30,000 (£18,000/€22,000) to the POC.
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