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Australia to participate at Asian 2022 Games in selected sports

21 September 2017

ASHGABAT: It’s been a historic day for the Australian Olympic movement at the home of the fifth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

Just as Keshena Waterford was claiming the nation’s first ever medal at the event it was announced that Australia, as well as other Oceania nations, will be able to participate at the 2022 Asian Games in selected sports.

After cruising through her round of 16 and quarter-final bouts, Waterford won bronze in the women’s -49kg taekwondo event after going down to Jihea Kim of Korea in the semi-final.

“Of course it feels good,” the 27-year-old from Canberra said.

“I feel very proud to have had this opportunity to be in this place where I am the first person to do this.

“As an elite athlete you’re always looking for the next big thing, so I want to take a bit of time to really appreciate what it means to win this medal and that it is quite a big deal and to celebrate the moment.”

There was more reason to celebrate when the Olympic Council of Asia extended an invitation to Australian athletes who will now be able to compete at the Asian Games in sports which will have their qualification paths for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games go through Asia.

“On behalf of the Association of Oceania NOCs (ONOC), I welcome today’s announcement by the President of the Olympic Council of Asia, H.E. Sheikh Al Sabah of the invitation for Oceania athletes to participate in the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China in the sports for which their qualification for the next Summer Olympic Games (Paris 2024) is through Asia,” said ONOC Council member John Coates.

“Consistent with the OCA's decision to cap the number of athletes, coaches, doctors and other support staff in the Asian Games at 15,000 (10,000 athletes/5,000 support staff) the numbers from the NOCs of Oceania will be capped at around 300 athletes and 150 support staff. 

“Volleyball, football, basketball and equestrian are among the sports for which Olympic qualification for Australia is likely to be through Asia. It is however unlikely that equestrian would take up this opportunity because quarantine rules generally require the horses to be quarantined for up to six months on return from China. 

“The International Federations are currently determining their Qualification Rules for Tokyo 2020 and these will provide a guide as to all of the sports and NOCs for which qualification from Oceania will be through Asia for Paris 2024," Coates concluded. 

Australia currently has 18 athletes competing across taekwondo, weightlifting and wrestling at Ashgabat 2017 in what is our debut Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.

The event also hosted the Olympic Council of Asia’s Executive Board Meeting and General Assembly where the decision to allow Oceania nations the ability to compete in some sports at the 2022 Asian Games was made.

You can read a detailed report on Waterford’s historic medal-winning performance here.

You can also follow all the results from Ashgabat here and watch selected sports live here.

Matt Bartolo

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