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Friday September 3, 2010

Commonwealth and Asian Games will not be held in same year

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games will not be held in the same year from 2018. Instead the Asiad will be held in 2019 and the four-year cycle will be retained.

The Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) secretary general, Datuk Sieh Kok Chi (pic), said that it was a decision taken by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

“The council decided that the Asian Games should not be held the same year with the Commonwealth Games because it did not benefit the athletes,” he said.

“It will be difficult for the Asian athletes to peak twice in a short period of time in two multi-sports Games.”

The Commonwealth Games this year will be held in New Delhi from Oct 3-14 and the Asian athletes will again feature in the Asiad in Guangzhou from Nov 12-27.

The inaugural Asian Games was held in New Delhi in 1951 but the second edition in Manila was held three years later. But from then on, it was held once every four years.

Kok Chi added that the OCA also felt that there were too many major events held in the Asian Games year.

“Besides the Commonwealth Games, there is the World Cup football, World Cup hockey and also the world basketball championships,” he said.

“So it’s a good idea by the OCA to have the Asian Games on a odd year as this will give athletes from Asia more time to prepare for the Games.”

Kok Chi said that the OCA also believed that it was better to stage the Asiad a year after the Commonwealth Games as it would also provide opportunities for the athletes to qualify for the Olympics, which will be held the following year.

“The Olympics have a one-year qualifying period for athletes in individual events. The Asian Games will be held in either September or October (2019) while the Olympics will be held in August (2020),” he said.

Kok Chi added that there would be three major Games in three different years – 2018 Commonwealth Games, 2019 Asiad and 2020 Olympics.

The hosts for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2019 Asian Games have yet to be decided.

However, the 2014 Commonwealth Games will be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from July 23-Aug 3 while the 2014 Asian Games will be held in Incheon, South Korea, from Sept 19-Oct 4.

Meanwhile, the Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Shabery Cheek said that Malaysia would not make a bid to host the 2019 Asiad because of financial constraints.

“It will cost us RM1.2bil to host the Games and it will not be good for political mileage,” he said.

“Already the government are giving a lot of subsidies for items like petrol and sugar. We don’t want to burden the government.”

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