Monday, 16 March 2009

‘Need to intensify fight against doping’

KUWAIT CITY, March 13, (KUNA): Workshops of the First Congress of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) continued on Friday, with emphasis on several key issues aimed at developing Asian sports. Speaking at the first workshop on “Sports Science in Asia,” President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) John Fahey said that it was crucial for governments and sports organizations to intensify the efforts against doping in sports. He called for stronger sanctions against athletes who used substances to win competitions or to enhance their performance, saying that such individuals were not abiding by any moral ethics or law by doing so.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian speaker at the “Sports Marketing in Asia” workshop Sieh Kou Chi revealed that the OCA had recently played an important role in “marketing” its sport events. He affirmed that the success of any event depended on notifying people of the sporting competitions, stressing that good advertisement would come from a combined effort by governments and sports organizations. At the workshop focusing on “Governance of Sports in Asia,” Director at International Olympic Committee (IOC) Pere Miro said that sports institutions must not fall under the external influences, whether it was political or financial, adding that each organization should follow its own statute. Statutes of both governments and sports institutions could co-exist together and should not overlap, indicated Miro, who called for sport laws to be diverse and integrated to cope with recent developments.

On his part, President of the Jordanian Olympic Committee (JOC) Prince Faisal Bin Al-Hussein indicated that women’s sports in Asia was hindered in some countries due to social restrictions or state policies. During the workshop on “Women Sports in Asia,” Prince Faisal called on the OCA and the IOC to deal with problems facing women’s sports by addressing the main problems, whether financially or socially related, adding that social acceptance was a requirement to break the restrictions. Introducing sports within the boundaries of traditional and social values is the chief step to allow women to practice sports, said Prince Faisal, who indicated that more measures could be implemented to help women practice sports. On Thursday, four workshops took place, focusing on sports and environment, Asian Games and youth sports, as well as peace through sports.

Head of the Women’s Sports Committee at the Kuwait Olympic Committee Sheikha Naeema Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah stressed Friday that Asian women athletes were among the elite of sportswomen around the globe due to their numerous achievements in recent tournaments. Speaking at a workshop for “Women Sports in Asia,” Sheikha Naeema said that the last summer Olympics in Beijing, China, saw Asian women athletes winning around 101 medals, a fact which reflected the huge improvements in sports in the Asian continent. Sheikha Naeema’s paper to the workshop also focused on the Arab women athletes’ achievements, saying that they had made great progress in recent years on the Asian and international level. The Kuwaiti official also made suggestions and proposals to elevate the status of Asian sports in general and women sports in particular.

Meanwhile, Chairwoman of the Women’s Committee at the West Asian Games Federation Sheikha Hayat Al-Khalifa said that the OCA workshop had profoundly touched upon the status of women sports in Asia, as it focused on strategies to be carried out by governments on that regard. “The time is limited and we need to have a true manifestation on ground of these strategies,” Sheikha Hayat noted, pointing out that implementing these plans does not have to contradict with traditions and customs of any Asian nation.

Sheikha Hayat noted that women involvement in sport should not be limited to taking part in games, but “we wish to see female referees, administrators and coaches.” Media was a major instrument in delivering the message of women’s sports, she concluded. President of the Asian Shooting Confederation (ASC) Sheikh Salam Al-Humoud Al-Sabah said here Friday that the first Asian science conference to develop sports in Asia was very vital for the continent plans for integrating sports. Sheikh Salman said that he had visited some workshops held within the OCA Congress, saying it would reflect positively on the Asian sports movement. Sheikh Salman affirmed that ASC was following up the event’s activities, lauding the OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah efforts in making the event a success.

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