Australia and New Zealand not sending athletes to Asian Games

Australia will not accept the offer to send athletes to the Asian Games for the first time this year because none of the sports federations invited have expressed interest in traveling to Hangzhou, the Australian Olympic Committee said on Tuesday ( AOC).

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) had invited a quota of around 300 athletes and 150 support staff from countries in Oceania, including Australia and New Zealand, to participate in the Games from September 10-25. in the city of eastern China.

“We don’t have any athletes,” an AOC spokesman told Reuters on Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the New Zealand Olympic Committee also confirmed that the country would not participate in the Games.

Outgoing AOC President John Coates, IOC Vice-President and one of the world’s most influential sports administrators, had long lobbied for Australian athletes to be included in the Asian Games to expose them to a tougher competition.

The quadrennial Asian Games are the second in size after the Summer Olympics.

The Hangzhou Games have been under a cloud since an outbreak of COVID-19 in Shanghai, some 175 kilometers northwest of the city.

A media report last week quoted the OCA’s chief executive as saying there was a possibility the Games could be postponed due to the COVID situation.

Most international sporting events in China have been postponed or canceled since the start of the pandemic, with the notable exception of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, which took place under strict controls in February.

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