Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates.
Australian Olympic Committee chief John Coates. JULIAN SMITH

Australia in talks to join Asian Games

AUSTRALIA is in discussions to become a fully fledged member of the Asian Games, with Olympic Committee chief John Coates in support of the move.

The Asian Games featured 45 nations in its most recent edition. Although it is too late for Australia and other Oceania nations such as New Zealand to participate in Indonesia next year, a decision on participation in future Games will be made in September.

"Discussions are under way and I believe there would be great interest in the Asian Games amongst our member sports, particularly in sports where the Asian countries are strong (such as) gymnastics, badminton and table tennis," Coates told foxsports.com.au.

"I believe participating in the Asian Games would be very good for us."

Coates is attending the Asian Winter Games in Sapporo, Japan, where Australia has a team of 30 emerging athletes invited.

He has met with Sheikh Fahad Al-Sabah, the president of the Olympic Council of Asia, who invited the athletes to the Winter Games, to discuss Australia's larger involvement.

"Australia's possible inclusion will be on the agenda at the next meeting in September this year," Coates said.

"It is too late for the next Asian Games but we would be looking at 2022 China and 2026 Japan."

The Asian Games will be held in the same year as the Commonwealth Games and it's uncertain how Australian sports would juggle both events.

There are 44 sports being contested at next year's Asian Games, including 33 Olympic disciplines such as track and field, swimming and gymnastics, and others including cricket.

The Asian Games include football, giving a potential extra top-class tournament to help the Matildas and Young Socceroos prepare for future Olympics.

In contrast, the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will have 18 sports, with 70 nations expected to participate.

News Corp Australia

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