Staff Reporter

His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck, His Majesty’s Representative and President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee attended the 42nd General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday.

At the General Assembly, Sheikh Talal Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait was elected by the 44 National Olympic Committee’s (NOC) representing Asia as the new President of the OCA for 2023 to 2027.

The other candidates for the election were Dr Husain Al-Musallam, the incumbent Director-General of the OCA and also the President of the World Aquatics. Sheikh Tala received 24 votes of the 44 votes cast while the OCA Director-General received 20 votes.

Sheikh Talal is the son of the first OCA President, Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who was the president from 1982 to 1990, and the younger brother of the previous OCA President, Sheikh Ahmad Fahad Al-Sabah, who led the organisation from 1991-2021 before self-suspending himself.

The meeting was attended by dignitaries including government officials from Thailand, representatives from the 45 NOCs, officials from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the International Sports Federations.

The OCA General Assembly confirmed Harbin, China, as the host of the 2025 Asian Winter Games. A comprehensive bid was presented by the Chinese Olympic Committee Vice President and IOC Member Yu Zaiqing along with officials from the Harbin 2025 Bid Committee.

Additionally, the General Assembly also agreed in principle to the guidelines for the participation of about 500 Russian and Belarusian athletes at the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games as independent athletes, competing under a neutral flag, should the IOC approve their participation at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

HRH Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck also attended the 80th Executive Board Meeting of the OCA on July 7 and met with officials from various sports organisations, and discussed various matters and potential collaboration.

The next General Assembly will take place in Bangkok, Thailand on the sidelines of the Asian Indoor Martial Arts Games which is scheduled to take place in February-March next year.