Qatar's Mutaz Barshim Among 26 Contenders for OCA Athletes' Committee

Empowering Asian Athletes: Landmark Elections Set to Transform Representation

by Nouman Rasool
Qatar's Mutaz Barshim Among 26 Contenders for OCA Athletes' Committee

A notable roster of 26 candidates, including the distinguished Qatari athlete Mutaz Barshim, has cast their hats into the ring for the impending elections of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Athletes' Committee. These elections, a historic first for the OCA Athletes' Committee, are set to unfold against the dynamic backdrop of the 19th Asian Games in the vibrant city of Hangzhou, China.

Scheduled to span from September 23 to October 8, the Games will witness a pivotal democratic process in the world of Asian athletics. The OCA Athletes' Committee, a pivotal component of the Olympic Council of Asia, stands as a representation of the diverse regions comprising Asia.

This committee comprises a total of 10 members, with two athletes hailing from each of the five distinct zones in Asia. This structure, which champions gender equality, mandates the representation of both a male and a female athlete from each zone.

The closing of nominations marked a crucial juncture earlier this month, as an impressive assembly of 26 candidates emerged from various corners of the vast Asian continent. This contingent represents the East Asia, South Asia, South East Asia, Central Asia, and West Asia regions.

Such spirited participation underscores the palpable enthusiasm within the Asian athletic community for a more inclusive and participatory Athletes' Committee.

Inaugural Athletes' Committee Elections: Asian Games' Democratic Showcase

The electoral process itself is set to unfurl in tandem with the highly anticipated 19th Asian Games.

Commencing a day following the grandeur of the Opening Ceremony and concluding two days prior to the festive Closing Ceremony, the elections will offer an unprecedented opportunity for roughly 15,000 athletes to cast their votes.

The electoral outcome will see the emergence of two athletes from each of the five zones, those who secure the highest number of votes, as revered members of the OCA Athletes' Committee. Among the distinguished candidates listed for the West Asia region are male contender Mutaz Barshim, a stalwart in the realm of athletics, as well as other accomplished athletes including Mohammed Al Qarnas from Yemen (boxing), Abdelrahman Almasatfa from Jordan (karate), Adnan Taees Akkar from Iraq (athletics), Husein Alireza from Saudi Arabia (rowing), and Abdallah Abushabab from Palestine (triathlon).

Meanwhile, the female segment of the list features names like Julyana Al Sadeq from Jordan (taekwondo) and Hala Al Qadi from Palestine (karate). The decision to hold these landmark elections for the Athletes' Committee was reached during the OCA/Olympic Solidarity Athletes Forum held in March in Bangkok, Thailand.

This pivotal event, graced by 89 participants from an impressive 44 National Olympic Committees, underscored the commitment of the Asian athletic community to foster greater engagement, inclusivity, and representation. As the monumental elections approach, the Asian sporting landscape finds itself at a transformative crossroads, poised to celebrate not only the prowess of its athletes on the field but also the resilience and spirit of democratic engagement within its administrative corridors.

The forthcoming elections are poised to carve a remarkable chapter in the annals of Asian sports history, embracing change, diversity, and collective empowerment.