KATHMANDU: The South Asia Olympic Council (SAOC) today decided to organise the 13th South Asian Games in Nepal from March 9-18 in 2019.
The first meeting of the SAOC held at Nepal Olympic Committee building finalised the dates for the regional sporting extravaganza. Nepal had received the SAOC Flag during the closing ceremony of the 12th SA Games held in India in February.
“We had a long discussion on the issue and reached the decision of holding the SA Games in March in 2019,” said Nepal Olympic Committee President Jeevan Ram Shrestha after the meeting.
NOC President Shrestha, Vice-president Jyoti Rana, Secretary General Lama Tendi Sherpa, National Olympic Committee of Sri Lanka Vice-president Charles WD Henry, Secretary General Maxwell PN De Silva, Pakistan Olympic Association Secretary General Muhammad Khalid Mahmood, Bhutan Olympic Committee Director Jigme Thinley and Secretary General Sonam Karma Tshering, Bangladesh Olympic Committee Director General Fakhruddin Haider attended the meeting, while representatives from the Maldives and India did not attend the meeting.
The meeting also appointed Shrestha as the President of the SAOC and Lama Tendi Sherpa as the Secretary General. Likewise, the SAOC decided to establish a permanent headquarters in Nepal to look after all the activities of the council.
Earlier, countries having the hosting rights of the SAG used to have temporary headquarters in their respective countries. “There is a provision of establishing a permanent headquarters in the statute and the decision of having the headquarters in Nepal was made during the meeting. We are happy that Nepal will be a sport destination with the establishment of the headquarters,” Shrestha added.
The meeting took the decision of including 20 to 23 sports disciplines in the SA Games.
“The host country can include two disciplines. So, the number of sports will be between 20 to 25. We decided to continue with the Dhaka edition as there were 25 disciplines in the 11th SA Games held in Bangladesh,” he informed.
“We will finalise the number of games to be played in Nepal in our next meeting as we need to hold discussion with the government and stakeholders as infrastructure play key role on that,” said Shrestha.
Similarly, the SAOC will work on the amendment of its statute during next meeting to be held in Bhutan within six months. “We realised that the SAOC statute needs to be amended and we have also received a number of proposals.
Today we discussed about the body of the council, importance of general assembly and the timely organisation of the Games. Final decision on the amendment will be taken in the next meeting,” Shrestha informed.
The next meeting will also take a decision on Afghanistan who have decided to leave the SAOC and join Central Asia.
Earlier, Minister for Youth and Sports Daljit Sripaili inaugurated the meeting and reiterated that the government was committed to hold the Games on scheduled time.
“This is not just an opportunity but a matter of pride for us and we are committed to hold the games on time. The government has also kept the Games in its priority list,” said Sripaili.