INCHEON, South Korea (dpa) – Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah declared the South Korean Asian Games a success Saturday but criticised the Indian Cricket Board and promised a review in boxing.
“The last two weeks we were here in the beautiful city of Incheon, the whole Asian sport family and all our guests from all over the world, from all sports organisations to celebrate and witness the Asian Games,” Sheikh Ahmad said at a news conference.
“I can announce the success of the 17th Games.”
Sheikh Ahmad praised local organisers in Incheon along with a long list of others for the smooth running of the Games.
And he pointed out that after the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympics will take place in Asia (Pyeonchang, South Korea in 2018, and either Beijing or Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2022) either side of the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.
“The next decade will be in Asia – the whole next decade for any Olympic multi-sport games is in Asia, this should make every Asian proud that we have the trust of our colleagues and we’re capable of holding such events,” he said.
OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah
Sheikh Ahmad praised the athletes who had contributed 14 world records and dozens of Asian Games records over the course of the two-week event for lifting the technical standard of the competition.
But he did not hold back when asked for his opinion on India’s decision not to participate in the cricket event at the Games.
“We always wish to have top athletes from those sports (on the progamme),” he said. “I’m sorry India didn’t send its professional team but I respect the decision.
“But I think people in charge of cricket there want to be business people rather than sport people. They want money, they want to keep the market for their themselves, they don’t go for Asian Games or Olympic Games, this is business not a sport.
“It’s not your personal toy, it’s the people’s game … I will discuss this with the (Indian) federation of cricket face to face, I know what I’m saying.”
The controversial issue of judging in boxing was also addressed after Sheikh Ahmad said he accepted the apology of Indian Sarita Devi for not accepting her bronze medal.
“We have received letters from five National Olympic Committees about boxing and we will discuss this with the international federation,” he said, though he added no further details would be provided until the review was completed.
He dismissed concerns China’s dominance of the medal table could lead to a lack of interest in the competition, saying all Asian countries should aspire to being a force in world sports.