Athletes from Australia and the rest of Oceania have been invited to compete at the 2022 Asian Games to be held at Hangzhou in China. The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) extended an invitation to the Australian athletes at the Asian Games in selected sports which will have their qualification paths for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games through Asia. “Volleyball, Football, Basketball and Equestrian are among the sports for which Olympic qualification for Australia is likely to be through Asia,” Australian Olympic chief John Coates said in a statement.
The Oceania group comprising of Australia, New Zealand and a swathe of Pacific islands has not taken part in the regional Olympics before. But as sporting ties with Asia is improving the decision was taken. Australia has already taken part in the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo in 2017. However, as the number of Asian Games athletes was capped at 15,000, the Oceania group can participate in team sports only. Coates said, “the numbers from the NOCs of Oceania will be capped at around 300 athletes and 150 support staff”.
Australia has been a member of the Asian Football Confederation since 2006, and Oceania nations are currently competing at the Asian Indoor Games and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan. Australia has 18 athletes currently competing in Taekwondo, Weightlifting and Wrestling at the Asian Indoor Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, the first OCA event to feature athletes from the Oceania region.