THE Asian Games commemorate its centennial celebration by going back where it all started.
The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) will hold its 32nd general assembly in the Philippines eight months from now with a celebration to be highlighted by the staging of the Asian Games Centennial Festival in commemoration of the 100-year founding of the Far Eastern Championship Games, the precursor of the Asiad.
No less than OCA president, His Royal Highness Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, was the special guest of honor during the official launching of the event on Thursday at the Marriot Hotel that was also attended by the entire Philippine Olympic board led by president Jose ` Peping’ Cojuangco and vice-president Joey Romasanta, Philippine Sports Commission chairman Ritchie Garcia, presidential sister Ballsy-Aquino Cruz, and other top ranking local sports officials.
“This will be a fortune for our history, a fortune for our memory to show to all our colleagues in other continent that in Asia, the (Olympic) movement started too early,” said the 49-year-old Al-Sabah, a former head of the Kuwait Olympic Committee and current Minister of National Security of his country.
The Far Eastern Championship Games was first held in Manila in 1913 at the Carnival Grounds (now the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex) through the initiative of Elwood Brown, president of the Philippine Athletic association and Manila Carnival Games.
China, Japan, and the Philippines were the original signatories of the Games, later joined by India (1930) and Dutch East Indies (1934). By 1938, the event was totally cancelled after the second Sino-Japanese War broke out, only to resume in 1951 in New Delhi, India and renamed as the Asian Games.
The Asiad Centennial Festival will be held in Boracay from November 26 to 29, with the 45 member nations of OCA together with the remaining 160 affiliate National Olympic Committees (NOCs) of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) expected to be represented.
Al-Sabah has urged the country to `show everybody how Asians do their celebration,’ Cojuangco said.
“So this one is going to be a festive celebration,” said the POC president, who added some games will be held in Manila and other parts of the country leading up to the November festival.
The OCA president and the 13 delegates who came with him will leave the country on Friday.