Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 3, 2022: The Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee of Iraq, Haitham Abdulhameed, believes the Olympic Council of Asia is ready to live up to its motto of “Ever Onward” following the pandemic.
Looking ahead to the OCA/Olympic Solidarity Regional Forum in Riyadh from December 4-7, Haitham said the unity and cooperation within the OCA would power Asia toward a successful 2023.
“It’s very nice and I’m very happy that we will restart our regional forum and meet our friends and brothers from the OCA and NOCs face to face and not through Zoom,” he said.
“When you meet with someone face to face it is different; we can have good communication with all our colleagues, and I feel now that everything will be okay after the pandemic.”
The NOCs from West Asia, Central Asia and South Asia will have their forum on December 4-5, followed by the delegates from Southeast Asia and East Asia on December 6-7.
On a busy agenda, two of the main topics will be the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8, 2023 and the 6th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Bangkok and Chonburi province, Thailand, from November 17-26, 2023.
“This is another challenge that we will face together,” Haitham added. “I am sure China will succeed in organising such a big event which will reflect the good reputation of organising major sports events in Asia.
“Our role is we have to support and help Asia in organising such a Games because we feel we are family and we have to support each other. From Iraq NOC, we will do our best to compete at the Hangzhou Asian Games and the AIMAG in Thailand. The success of these games is for the OCA and all NOCs from Asia.”
Haitham said that Iraq was focusing on quality rather than quantity in assembling their team for Hangzhou, selecting athletes and teams that will challenge for medals based on the data provided by the national sports federations to the NOC’s technical committee.
On the subject of women in sport, Haitham said the Iraq NOC was working to develop the participation of women, not only as athletes but also in leadership roles.
“We have contacted our National Federations about making women a part of their governing body and in delegations participating in events outside of Iraq.
“It is not easy in the Middle East because of the traditions, and we must change the mentality – but we feel it is coming step by step,” he said.