The Asian Games, officially known as Asiad, is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over the Asia. The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation (AGF) from the first Games in New Delhi, India until the 1982 Games. Since the 1982 they have been organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), after the breakup of the Asian Games Federation. The Games are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and are described as the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.
Thailand has hosted four Asian Games, more than any other nation, after twice having secured the Games from crisis. In its history, only nine nations have hosted the Asian Games. 46 nations have participated in the Games, including Israel, which was expelled from the Games after their last participation in 1974.
Before the Asian Games were held, there was a gathering known as the Far Eastern Games which was first mooted in 1912 between Empire of Japan, the Philippine Islands and China. The first Games were then held in Manila in 1913 and ten further gatherings were held until 1934. However, against the backdrop of the second Sino-Japanese War in 1934, in the face of Japan's insistence on including Manchu Empire as competitor nation in the Games, China announced its withdrawal from participation. The Games scheduled for 1938 were cancelled and the organization was discontinued thereafter. Another gathering was held in New Delhi, India in 1934, known as West Asian Games with participation from India, Ceylon, Afghanistan and Pakistan. These Games were scheduled for another meet in 1938, but that was cancelled due to the outbreak of World War II.
After World War II, a number of Asian countries became independent. Many of the newly independent Asian countries wanted to see a new type of competition where Asian dominance would not be shown by violence but would be strengthened by mutual understanding. During the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, a conversation between sportsmen from China and the Philippines raised the idea of restoring the Far Eastern Games. However, the Indian International Olympic Committee representative Guru Dutt Sondhi thought that the restoration of the Games would not be sufficient to show the spirit of unity and level of achievement in Asian sports, so proposed to sports leaders the idea of having discussions about holding a wholly new competition — the Asian Games. This gave rise to the agreement to form the Asian Athletic Federation. A preparatory committee was set up to draft the charter for this new body. On 13 February 1949, the Asian Athletic Federation was formally inaugurated in New Delhi, alongside the name Asian Games Federation, with New Delhi announced as the first host city of the Asian Games which were scheduled to be held in 1950.
In the event, the planned first Asian Games were delayed until 1951 due to preparation problems. However, they were successfully organized from 4-11 March 1951 with 489 athletes from 11 countries taking part. The Games grew from one meeting to the next. In 1958, the motto "Ever Onward" was officially announced as the official slogan of the Games.
Starting in 1962, the Games were hit by several crises. First, the host country Indonesia, refused to permit the participation of Israel and the Republic of China due to political and religious issues. As a result, the IOC removed its sponsorship of the Games and terminated Indonesia as one of the IOC members. The Asian Football Confederation (AFC), International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) and International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), also removed their recognition of the Games.
In 1970, South Korea dropped its plan to host the Games declined due to national security crisis, however the main reason was due to financial crisis, forcing the previous host Thailand to administer the Games again in Bangkok using funds transferred from South Korea. Prior to the Games, Japan was asked to host the Games, but declined due to Expo '70 in Osaka. This edition also marked the first time the Games have a television broadcasting throughout the world. In 1974, the Games formally recognized the participation of China, North Korea and Mongolia. Israel was allowed to participate despite the opposition from Arab World, while Taiwan was permitted to take part despite its status was abolished in general meeting on November 16, 1973 by Games Federation.
The last is 1978, Pakistan dropped its plan to host the Games in 1975 due to financial crisis and political issues. Thailand offered to help and the Games were once again held in Bangkok. However once again, like in 1962, Taiwan and Israel were refused the participation by Games Federation, amid political issues and security fears. Several governing bodies protest the ban, like IAAF, threaten to barred the participated players from 1980 Summer Olympics, this cause several teams withdrew prior to the Games.
Following this series of crises, the National Olympic Committee in Asia decided to revise the constitution of the Asian Games Federation. A new association, named the Olympic Council of Asia, was created in November 1981 with the exclusion of Israel. India was already scheduled to host the 1982 Games and the OCA decided not to drop the old AGF timetable. The OCA formally supervised the Games starting with the 1986 Asian Games in South Korea. In the succeeding Games, Taiwan (Republic of China) was re-admitted, but compete with the name Chinese Taipei.
In 1994, the Games were first time included the nations of former Republics of the Soviet Union of Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Also to note it is the first time that the Games were held outside the capital city of host country. However, Iraq was suspended from the Games due to Gulf War in 1990, while North Korea boycotted the Games due to relation problems. It is also marred by the death of Nepalese delegation Nareshkumar Adhikari during the Games opening ceremony.
The 1998 Games marked the fourth time held in Bangkok, Thailand in history. Differ to December 6 as opening ceremony date to previous three occasions on December 9, the Games were closing on same day all time, December 20, while all opened by Bhumibol Adulyadej.
The number of competition events is scheduled to shrink down to just 35 sports at the 2014 Games to be held in Incheon, South Korea. 2014 will also see the Games hosted in even-numbered year, as the Olympic Council of Asia pushed the subsequent Games to just one year ahead of the Olympic Games. This means the 18th Asian Games which were originally planned for 2018 will be pushed to 2019.
Participating Countries (45 NOCs).
All 45 members affiliated to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) are eligible to take part in the Games. In history, 46 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have sent competitors to the Games. Israel has been excluded from the Games since 1976, the reason cited as being due to security reasons. Israel requested to participate in the 1982 Games, but the request was rejected by the organizers due to incident in 1972 Summer Olympics. Israel is now a member of the European Olympic Committees (EOC).
Due to its continuing ambiguous political status, Taiwan has participated in the Games under the flag of Chinese Taipei since 1990. Macau is allowed to compete as one of the NOCs in Asian Games, despite not being recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for participation in the Olympic Games.
In 2007, the President of OCA, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd Al-Sabah, rejected the proposal to allow Australia to participate in the Games. He stated that while Australia would add good value to the Asian Games, it would be unfair to the other NOCs in Oceania.
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