The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has notified its member countries that they will allow Russia and Belarus to participate in the Asian Games in Hangzhou, causing controversy.
As Russia is at war with Ukraine and is not a member of the OCA, concerns are being raised about such a move by OCA. Moreover, there are reactions that worry that it could adversely affect the performance of players from existing member countries.
In a situation where there is a high possibility that unfamiliar Asian Games will be played by European players, the Korea Sports Council is in a position to respond so that Korean players are not disadvantaged in participating in the Paris Olympics.
OCA unilaterally notifies 45 member countries of ‘Russian player invitation’… no clear rules
On the 30th of last month, OCA informed 45 member countries, including the Korea Olympic Committee, that it would invite 500 Russian and Belarusian athletes to the Hangzhou Asian Games to be held in September and October.
However, it was announced that medals and rankings based on performance in the Asian Games will not be awarded to players from these two countries. Participating athletes participate in their individual capacity and receive only medals commemorating their participation. It also added that it would not affect the Asian quota for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The Sports Association explained that it was unilaterally notified of the participation of the two countries through an official document. There was no procedure for OCA to seek postwar coordination or opinions from its 45 member states.
An official from the Sports Association said, “Collecting member countries’ opinions is not a part of the procedure. I think that (Russia and Belarus will be allowed to participate) if OCA proceeds in consultation with the Organizing Committee.” Our position may be slightly different,” he said.
“There is no clear regulation on the invitation,” he said. “Looking at the situation so far, consultations with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have already been made, and discussions are ongoing, so there is little chance of cancellation (I think).”
He also added, “I know that there was no opinion collection process when Australia and New Zealand participated in the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games.” Australia and New Zealand were invited to participate in the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo.
Korea Sports Association “There should be no damage to Korean players”
The Korea Sports Council is in a position to find out the situation through inquiries to the OCA and protect the right to participate in the Olympics for Korean athletes. The Sports Association plans to send an official inquiry to OCA this week at the earliest regarding the participation of Russia and Belarus in the Asian Games in Hangzhou.
An official of the sports association explained, “Our players should not be harmed by participating in Russia and Belarus.”
OCA said it would not affect the Asian quota allotted for participation in future Olympics by not giving medals or rankings to athletes from the two countries.
However, as the criteria for participation in the Olympics are different for each event, there are voices of concern that they may affect each athlete in the future.
In addition, in the case of tournament games such as taekwondo and judo, the problem can be even greater. Asian players who meet with players from these countries are bound to be affected, unless it is a way to play against only two countries separately in the tournament bracket. The OCA has not disclosed which events the athletes from the two countries will be participating in.
The Korea Sports Council is also aware of this. An official from the sports association said, “It can be a problem in a tournament game. Considering this part, we will ask about the detailed operation method.”
In addition, although these countries’ participation in the Asian Games is eligible for invitation, there is an aspect that it can add to the possibility of the athletes of the two countries participating in the Paris Olympics in the future. An official from the sports association predicted, “I don’t know if it will be a European quota or what kind of quota (standard), but I think we will discuss with the International Federation (IF) how to qualify (to Russia and Belarus).”
“I think the part that OCA is discussing with the IOC is based on the premise of the Paris Olympics,” he said.
Russia and Belarus ventilate through AG… South Korea is at a loss for signs of ‘conflict’
But in Europe, the situation is different. Previously, the European Olympic Committee (EOC) decided not to invite Russian and Belarusian players to the 2023 European Games, which is equivalent to the Asian Games in Europe, because of the invasion of Ukraine.
Russia and Belarus are isolated from the world of international sports due to the invasion of Ukraine. They were unable to participate in the Qatar World Cup as they were blocked from advancing to international competitions through FIFA and UEFA.
The Russian and Belarusian sports world, which have been neglected one after another, can reap income by providing international competition experience to the athletes once they participate in the Asian Games. For these countries, it is an opportunity to resolve the dissatisfaction that has accumulated within the sports world.
Australia and New Zealand, which participated in the 2017 Asian Games, were purely for performance improvement. Participating in international competitions itself is a point where you can see how important it is to the team. 스포츠토토
On the 25th of last month (local time), the IOC said in a statement after an Executive Committee meeting that “no athlete should be banned from participating because he holds a Russian or Belarusian passport.” “All athletes have the right to be treated without discrimination according to the Olympic Charter,” he said, “and he will be able to participate as a player from a neutral country.”
In the midst of this, there is also a view that it is difficult for Korea to respond strongly to this issue, which could turn into a diplomatic problem. As the Korea Olympic Committee also prioritizes the protection of Korean athletes, it is observed that there is no choice but to be cautious about the issue of the two countries participating in the Olympics.
International controversy is likely to continue as the OCA has actually sent support for Russian and Belarusian athletes participating in the Paris Olympics, while the IOC will not block Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating.