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I know there's been a bit of discussion lately about Oceania, and it's possible integration with the Asian Olympic Council. Couldn't find where that was taking place, so thought I'd kick off this thread with:

Oceania should be integrated into Asian events on "sport-by-sport" basis, claims IOC member

New Zealand's International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Barbara Kendall believes Oceanic nations should only compete in Asian sporting events on a "sport-by-sport" basis, dependent on a number of different variables.

Ever since Australia was accepted as a member of the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, there has been a growing school of thought that Australia and New Zealand would particularly benefit from the higher standard offered by Asian competition.

All 18 members of the Oceania National Olympic Committees will compete at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan, and, speaking in September, Olympic Council of Asia President, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, speculated that they could, in a long term sense, also compete in the Asian Games.

This comment has since provoked a mixed reaction from figures from both continents.

Australian Olympic Committee officials have been among those speaking enthusiastically, while leading figures involved in Asian rowing and rugby sevens have expressed concern it will damage competition and reduce opportunities for their athletes.

Kendall, the former Olympic windsurfing champion who is also chair of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) Athletes' Commission, believes each sport should be considered separately.

"It would be done federation by federation depending on the qualification system for the Olympic Games," she told insidethegames during the ANOC General Assembly in Bangkok.

"If we have to qualify through Asia, it would make sense to send a basketball team to the Asian Games.

"In comparison, I don't think we'd need to do it in rugby because Oceania is so strong, football, basketball...maybe.

"So it wouldn't be as a whole, but would be on a sport by sport basis, that's my opinion and how I see it, the most sensible way."

Although not mentioned specifically by Kendall, swimming is another sport where some believe Oceanic nations would be a good addition, because it would increase the standard in a sport currently monopolised on the Asian Games stage by China and Japan.

But, with Australia and New Zealand set to make their respective debuts in the Pacific Games in Port Moresby next July, Kendall believes there is no danger of the two continental superpowers ending up cut adrift from the rest of Oceania.

"There is no danger of that," she added to insidethegames.

"We're the biggest Polynesian population in New Zealand.

"We're a bit like a big brother, but we fit best there."


Sounds reasonable. There's no doubt joining the Asian Confederation was one of the best things that happened to Australian Soccer. I could see why, Rugby, for example, would be a concern to the rest of Asia, though. I'd be quite happy to see sport-by-sport integration, but still leave Oceania as a discrete entity for organisational purposes in Lausanne.

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Asian competitions would be fierce with Australia in the mix, but I can see (and understand) a group of middle sized nations blocking their entry specifically because of it. Sub-regional asian games could get a boost though.

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Australia's already an Asian member in volleyball well before it became a AFC member starting in 2006. In fact, ALL of Oceania is part of the Asian Volleyball Confederation running as a subzone since the five zonal configurations came about in 1993. But many of us haven't heard a peep about New Zealand's volleyball journeys. Likely because they're too weak. For the next FIBA World Basketball Championships slated for 2019, the qualifications will combine Asia with Oceania (but the Olympic spot for Oceania will remain intact). Ex-All White Ryan Nelsen has said in the elad up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I would agree with him since many of these Pacific islands need constant competiton beyond what NZ and Australia would offer to keep themselves out of the wilderness internationally outside of the region. But how many Asian nations, like say middle-sized Asian nations that Victor Mata brought up, would be willing to forth and support with the Pacific integration and would mind the size and range? Perhaps a qualification round might make the compromise.

Since rugby is very strong and deep in that area in international competition for decades, I would grandfather that.

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Not an expert on this but Australia is part of the Asian branch of FIFA right? Cause we're hosting the AFC Asian Cup ?

Yeah. We left the Oceania confederation to join Asia in 2006. For the 2006 WC we qualified through the usual circuitous Oceania route. Since then we've qualified through Asia.

For Australia, as a nation that still struggles with its identity and role in the region - Are we part of Asia? Are we an Asian nation? (and, no, you wouldn't find any unanimity on that question both here and in our neighbours to the north), I think sport, after trade, will prove long term one of our best ways to build a relationship and role within Asia. You can already see that a bit with joining the AFC for football - since joining we've already started a nice rivalry and tradition in football with Japan. And now the AFC Cup will further cement our place in the group. Or our relationship with India - our main drivers in that are uranium and cricket. It's more links like these we should use to build up more credit within our northern region.

That said, it might be having our cake and eat it too, but it's also advantageous that we can pick and choose a bit. Being part of the Oceania Olympic Council (or whatever it's called) gives us that little bit more standalone identity in Lausanne. In swimming, the Pan-Pacs are our second major meet after the Olympics, and gives us great links, tradition and competition with the US. Rugby, as has been mentioned, it's probably better we keep to our (and the game's) powerbase in Oceania rather than become a huge dominant fish in a smaller Asian pond.

Edited by Sir Rols
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Logistically, Asia becomes very large then....from Cook Islands to Turkmenistan....

And it would be even larger if it took in ALL the real Pacific states - as far as Tahiti if French Polynesia was included. But I just checked - they must compete and be represented as part of metropolitan France.

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