SAOC to decide SAG dates next week

Our Correspondent
Saturday, Oct 01, 2022

KARACHI: South Asian Olympic Council (SAOC) will meet next week to decide the dates and disciplines of the 14th South Asian Games on the sidelines of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly meeting which will be held at Sokha Hotel in Phnom Pen, Cambodia, on October 3 and 4.

The General Assembly meeting will also be attended by the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) chief Lt Gen (retd) Syed Arif Hassan and secretary Khalid Mehmood. They will proceed to Cambodia on Sunday (tomorrow).

The 14th South Asian Games are supposed to be held by Pakistan. Earlier, it was decided that October and November 2023 would be an ideal time-frame for holding the biennial spectacle. But after the 18th Asian Games were rescheduled for September and October 2023, the agreed time-frame for the SAG did not seem suitable.

According to POA sources, the SAOC member nations will be asked to give their input whether they are ready to feature in the biennial event in March 2024. Sources said if they agree then the time-frame and disciplines will be finalised.

It has been learnt that SAOC member nations also don't want SAG to be held in 2023 as it is always difficult for any nation to prepare and feature in two back-to-back events within a short span of time. And it is highly expected that all members will agree to shift the event to March 2024. Sources said it would be important to know about the situation of every member country as some may have international commitments in the intended fresh time-frame. Sources said that every effort would be made to ensure that all member nations feel easy to feature in the biennial competitions.

The POA top brass also communicated on Thursday to the IPC Ministry during a meeting of the top officials from both sides in Islamabad that the 14th South Asian Games are likely to be shifted to March 2024.

Meanwhile, the SAG steering committee will meet in Islamabad on October 3 to discuss the Games preparations. A source told 'The News' that federal minister for planning, development and special initiative Ahsan Iqbal will chair this meeting. Financial aspects of the Games will also be discussed during the meeting.

Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Board meeting is also scheduled to be held on October 6 in Islamabad in which various events, including SAG, will come under deliberation.

This is the third time that Pakistan is to host the South Asian Games. It conducted the spectacle in 1989 and 2004 in Islamabad.