A two-day meeting of the South Asian Olympic Council (SAOC) began in Thimphu yesterday. The Presidents and Secretary Generals from the South Asian Olympic Committees of Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are attending the meeting.

All delegates are in the country for the first time, a press release from the Bhutan Olympic Committee (BOC) stated. “This is also the first time that the South Asian Olympic Council has representatives from all South Asian countries present,” it stated.

Education Minister Norbu Wangchuk inaugurated the meeting in the presence of His Majesty’s Representative and the President of the Bhutan Olympic Committee, His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck.

Lyonpo Norbu Wangchuck said Bhutan hosted the first South Asian Olympic Council meeting in Thimphu in December 2005. “It has been 12 long years since and most Presidents and Secretary Generals of the South Asian Olympic Committees have changed,” he said. “However, what has not changed is our commitment, our energy and our zeal, to promote sports in our region.”

Lyonpo also said that the government and the BOC are working to make Bhutan a sporting country. “We are committed to make sports a part of our daily lives by putting in place an enabling environment for the overall development of sports,” he said. “An important step towards this aspiration is the development of a National Sports Policy and the cabinet has recently commissioned the development of the policy that will provide the strategic direction and bring together all actors in making Bhutan a sporting nation.”

The SAOC meeting discussed various issues related to the development of sports in the region, the press release stated. It also looked at finalising revisions to the constitution of the SAOC and the dates and events for the next games to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal in 2019.

Staff Reporter