THE highest official of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) will pay a courtesy call on President Aquino on Thursday in what should be one of the highlights of the first ever OCA general assembly to be held in the country.
OCA president Sheik Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait will be with Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) counterpart Jose `Peping’ Cojuangco when he visits Malacanang for an audience with the President.
Cojuangco is the uncle of the Chief Executive.
Sheikh Al-Sabah is set to arrive in the country Wednesday night on board his private jet.
Joining Cojuangco and Sheikh Al-Sabah at the Palace is OCA director general and technical director Husain Al-Musallam, also of Kuwait.
The OCA general assembly is set on Saturday at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), where over a hundred delegates representing the 45 member countries of the organization are expected to be in attendance.
The two-day event kicks off on Friday when the OCA executive board convenes at the Sofitel Philippine Plaza. Later in the evening, the Asian Games Centennial celebration will be held and highlighted by a dinner for all delegates and guest at the same hotel.
The Philippines hosted the inaugural Far Eastern Games in 1913, which became the forerunner of the Asiad.
Close to 500 guests have been invited to the event, also to be graced by special guest performer Regine Velasquez, according to POC vice president Joey Romasanta.
Vice President Jejomar Binay is expected to grace the affair and will be the keynote speaker in Saturday’s general assembly.
All the delegates, including members of royalty, are staying at Sofitel Philippine Plaza courtesy of the OCA which insisted on holding the event in the Philippines despite the recent devastation brought about by super-typhoon Yolanda.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president John Coates of Australia is also flying in after IOC president Thomas Bach of Germany begged off due to previous commitments.
Until the other day, there was a chance for the IOC president and his predecessor Jacques Rogge to arrive in the country.
The most important people in Asian sports will be coming over to the country, mostly the presidents of their respective National Olympic Commitees (NOCs).
They include Prince Jefri Bolkia of Brunei; Tsunekazu Takeda, who is head of the Japan Olympic Committee and OCA vice president and son of Prince Tsuneyoshi Takeda; and Tengku Abdullah, first in line to the Malaysian throne.
Former Olympic gold medalist and six-time pole vault world champion Sergey Bubka of Ukraine will also come over as head of the Ukraine Olympic Committee.
Vinod Kumar Tiwari, director for International and National Olympic Relations of OCA, arrived ahead of the other delegates.
Cojuangco said the Philippines should be thankful for being named host of the event as it also opens the doors for potential investors.
“Tourism and business investment wise, this is a big opportunity for the Philippines,” said Cojuangco.
To be tackled during the general assembly are the major international events lined up for Asia, including the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, Korea from September 19 to October 14 and the 4th Asian Beach Games in Phuket, Thailand on November 14 to 23.
Others in the agenda are the 5th Asian Beach Games in Vietnam in 2016, followed by three more major events in 2017 – the 8th Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, the 5th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, and the 3rd Asian Youth Games in Hambantota, Sri Lanka.