(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Youth development programmes in schools and a new marketing strategy will make Asia the future of athletics, the continent's top track and field official said yesterday.
Dahlan Al Hamad, President of Asian Athletics Association (AAA) said: "Yes, the future of athletics is Asia. Definitely you have to say this. We already have Olympic champions from Asia. Our ambition is to have more.
Al Hamad, who is also the President of Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF), said the Asian body discussed in detail the possibilities of taking the game forward in the continent.
"Our goal is to have more world and Olympic champions from Asia," Al Hamad said. "To do this, Asia should change," he said
Al Hamad said money is needed to take the game forward and that Asian body was working on the case.
"As I mentioned, without money you cannot move forward or reach professional level," Al Hamad said
"The council has received a presentation from the marketing side and it was a promising presentation," he added.
"We believe through sponsorships we will be in a better shape. We also need to look at other angles like competitions. I think we are going in that direction," he said.
"When I said Asia should change that doesn't mean we destroy the hard work of the past policy makers. What I mean is we need to change with the times.
"We need to make new strategies and adopt a new marketing policy. Asia is capable of reaching new heights," Al Hamad said.
Katsuyuki Tanaka, Vice-President of AAA, endorsed Al Hamad's views.
"In Asia, we believe that educational awareness on athletics is key to the sport's development," Tanaka said.
"In some parts of Asia, the education part of the sport is pretty widely practiced. In some parts of Asia, we need more awareness programmes," he added.
"For us at Asian Athletics Association, primary education and physical education are the two main pillars. Athletics is part of physical education.
"In some Asian countries, we have fantastic infrastructure where kids get to learn so many things about this sport," Tanaka explained.
"But that is not the case in many countriesso wehave to work on awareness campaigns and we will do it with meticulous planning," he said.
"IAAF (the world body) wants all continents to focus on the youth development programmes and we have been urged to use our existing schemes with maximum push," Tanaka added.
"We want to raise the awareness of IAAF schemes and we will work on it," he said. Al Hamad said the Asian athletics calendar is also set to see changes with the induction of new events which will have a profound impact on the athletes aiming for top events around the world.
"We will have the Asian Junior Athletics Championships in Doha next year. That's our commitment to bring Asia's top junior event to Qatar," Al Hamad said.
"We want to raise the bar, so as to say," Al Hamad said.
"We have a strong foundation to go big in athletics in Asia and we will help produce more world and Olympic champions," he added.
The AAA Council Meeting discussed several strategic issues
The main objectives were to further the development of Athletics in Asia through four different commissions: Marketing, Development, Competition, plus Youth and school.
The AAA members contributed and participated in work session and their discussions resulted in delivering recommendations for the AAA Council Meeting
Besides the President, the council members present included Senior Vice President, Du Zhaocai (CHN);Vice President, Katsuyuki Tanaka (JPN); Vice President, Pol Maj. Gen Surapong Ariyamongkol (THA); Vice President, Dr. Eidy AliJani (IRI);Vice President, Alexey Kondrat (KAZ); Vice President, Tigor Tanjung (INA); Secretary-Treasurer, Maurice R Nicholas (SIN); Individual Member, Rabi Rajkarnikar (NEP); Individual Member, Oh Dong Jin (KOR); Individual Member, William James Ko (HKG); Individual Member, Nasser Sultan Al Maamari (UAE); Individual Member, Hoang Manh Cuong (VIE); Individual Member, Ching-ChengWang(TPE); IndividualMember, Osama Mohammad Al Serhan (JOR); Individual Member, Dato Ramasamy Annamalai (LAO); Individual Member, Ms Mala Sakonhninhom (LAO); Individual Member, Ms Ruqaya Alghasra (BRN); IAAF Vice-President, Sergey Bubka (UKR); IAAF Council Member Ahmad Al Kamali (UAE); IAAF Member Service Director Abdelmalek El Hebil