Hundreds of Pacific Islanders to make Asian Games debut

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Image of “The Big Lotus”, the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center on the Qiantang River in Hangzhou, China. The building will be the site of the opening and closing ceremonies of the Asian Games in 2022. (Photo by Dan Sandoval / Hangzhou Publicity Department)

Athletes from Oceania – including Australian sporting power – will compete in track and field and four other sports when the region competes in the Asian Games for the first time, the Olympic Council of Asia has said.

About 300 athletes from Oceania will be able to compete in triathlon, wushu, roller skating, weightlifting and track and field at the multisport extravaganza next September in Hangzhou, China.

“Oceania will participate in the Asian Games for the first time,” Managing Director Husain Al-Musallam told an OCA meeting in Dubai, according to a press release.

“They will receive medals of honor (if they are in the top three) and that will not count towards the final medal count.”

Oceania – Australia, New Zealand and parts of the Pacific Islands – have never competed in the regional Olympics before, but sporting ties with Asia have grown stronger.

The 2022 Asian Games will see 10,000 athletes compete in 40 sports at 55 venues, with eSports making its debut as an official medal-winning event.

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