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The Origin of the Asian Games

From 1913 to 1934, 10 Far East Championships were held in Asia, but the championships stopped because of the outbreak of World War II. After the war a number of Asian countries became independent, their economy and culture developed, and Asian people had an increasing desire to become less isolated from each other and strengthen mutual intercourse. In order to keep abreast of the times, the Indian Prime Minister, Jawahalal Nehru, proposed an Asian sports meet in 1947 at a conference on relations between Asian countries. In August 1948, during the 14th Olympic Games held in London, India proposed to sports leaders of the Asian teams the idea of having discussions about holding the Asian Games. They agreed to form the Asian Athletic Federation and hold the first Asian Athletic Championships in New Dehli, India, in 1949. A preparatory committee was set up to draft the charter for the Asian Amateur Athletic Federation. In February, 1949, the Asian Amateur Athletic Federation was formally formed, and its name was changed to the Asian Athletic Federation. It was decided to hold the first Asian Games in 1950 in New Dehli, the capital of India. Since then the Asian Games has been regularly held once every four years.Back to the Top

The First Asiad in New Delhi, India

The First Asian Games, originally scheduled for 1950, was postponed until March 1951 because of the delayed preparations. Four hundred and eighty-nine athletes from Afghanistan, Burma, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Nepal, the Philippines, Singapore, SriLanka, and Thailand competed in athletics, aquatics, basketball, cycling, football and weightlifting in the eight-day Games from 4 March 1951 to 12 March 1951. Korea was unable to participate because of the Korean War. The first gold medalist was N.C. Kok of Singapore who won the 1500-meter freestyle swimming. Winning all four freestyle swimming events, he won four gold medals. Japan placed first with 24 gold medals, 20 silver medals and 14 bronze medals, followed by India which garnered 15 gold, 18 silver and 19 bronze medals. Japan had been barred from the London Olympics for initiating the Pacific War and was not invited to the founding meeting of AGF but was allowed to participate in the First Asian Games.Back to the Top

The Second Asiad in Manila, the Philippines

A total of 1,280 athletes from 18 countries participated in the nine-day Games from 1 May 1954 to 10 May 1954. The 18 participating countries included Cambodia, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, North Borneo and Vietnam. Of the six sports events of the first Asian Games, cycling was dropped and boxing, shooting and wrestling were added to increase the number of sports to eight. Japan won first place garnering 38 gold, 36 silver and 24 bronze medals. The host country, the Philippines, won second place with 14 gold, 14 silver and 17 bronze medals. Participating in Asain Games for the first time, Korea won third place with eight gold, six silver and five bronze medals.Back to the Top

The Third Asiad in Tokyo, Japan

The nine-day Third Asian Games were held from 24 May 1958 to 2 June 1958, with participation of 1,820 athletes from 20 countries who competed in 13 different sports consisting of the eight sports of the Second Asiad and tennis, volleyball, table tennis, hockey and cycling. Japan again won top place with 67 gold, 41 silver and 30 bronze medals, followed by the Philippines which won eight gold, 19 silver and 21 bronze medals. Korea dispatched a 156-man delegation to win third place with eight gold, 19 silver and 12 bronze medals. Lee Chang Hun of Korea won the marathon race. Back to the Top

The Fourth Asiad in Jakarta, Indonesia

When the hosting country, Indonesia, opposed the participation of Chinese Taipei and Israel, the noble ideal of peace and friendship of the Asian Games was jeopardized. The IOC said that it would cancel its approval of the Jakarta Asian Games should the host country reject the two countries. The International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) declared that unless the two countries were allowed to participate in the Jakarta Asiad, it would withdraw its approval of the Games and the athletes and their countries who participated would be disqualified as players and IAAF membership. President of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) flew to Jakarta to warn that if the two countries were excluded from the Games the IWF would regard the Games as an unofficial and only a friendship meet. As Indonesia insisted on the exclusion of the two countries, the IWF expelled the Indonesian Weightlifting Federation and decided not to hold the weightlifting event in the Jakarta Asiad. Without the participation of Chinese Taipei and Israel, 16 countries with 1,460 athletes competed in the 12-day Asian Games from 24 August 1962 to 5 August 1962. The 13 sports of the Games included badminton, which was played for the first time at the Games. Japan won first place with 73 gold, 56 silver and 23 bronze medals, followed by India which collected 10 gold, 13 silver and 10 bronze medals.Back to the Top

The Fifth Asiad in Bangkok, Thailand

Eighteen countries sent over 2,500 athletes and officials to the Fifth Asian Games, held between 9-20 December 1966, to compete in 14 different sports. Chinese Taipei and Israel returned to the Asian Games and Korea dispatched a 275-man delegation to compete in all 14 sports. During this Games, Korea was chosen to host the Sixth Asian Games in 1970. Japan again was the top winner garnering 78 gold, 53 silver and 33 bronze medals. Korea won second place for the first time in Asian Games with 12 gold, 18 silver and 21 bronze medals. Thailand, the host country, placed third with 12 gold, 14 silver and 11 bronze medals.Back to the Top

The Sixth Asiad in Bangkok, Thailand

After Korea gave up hosting rights for the Sixth Asian Games because of domestic reasons, the Sixth Asiad was held in Bangkok, Thailand, with the financial support of Korea and a few other countries, for 12 days beginning 9 December 1970. Over 2,400 athletes from 18 countries participated in the Games which featured 13 sports. Tennis and table tennis were not played and yachting was included for the first time. Japan won 74 gold, 47 silver and 23 bronze medals to win first place. Korea won second place for the second consecutive Games with 18 gold, 13 silver and 23 bronze medals. Korea's Cho Oh Ryon won the 400-meter and 1500-meter freestyle swimming. Korea also won gold medals in men's high-board diving and women's shot put. Thailand followed Korea with 9 gold, 17 silver and 13 bronze medals.Back to the Top

The Seventh Asiad in Tehran, Iran

The expulsion of Chinese Taipei and Israel again haunted the Seventh Asian Games. About 10 months before the Seventh Asiad, the AGF General Assembly on 16 November 1973, expelled Chinese Taipei and admitted the D.P.R. Korea. Iran, the host country, despite the opposition of Arabic nations, allowed Israeli to participate in Asian Games. Communist bloc nations, such as the People's Republic of China, Mongolia and D.P.R Korea, took part in Asian Games for the first time. Both Korea and D.P.R Korea competed in the Games. Arabic nations, D.P.R. Korea, Pakistan and the People's Republic of China refused to compete in tennis, fencing, basketball and football matches with Israel. Twenty-five countries sent 3,010 athletes to compete in 16 sports at the Seventh Asiad between 1-16 September 1974. Japan, again, won the most medals including 75 gold, 49 silver, and 51 bronze medals. Iran came forward to place second with 36 gold, 28 silver and 17 bronze medals. The People's Republic of China, a new comer, placed third, collecting 33 gold, 45 silver and 28 bronze medals.Back to the Top

The Eight Asiad in Bangkok, Thailand

The Eighth Asian Games originally planned for Islamabad, Pakistan, was held in Bangkok, Thailand, as Pakistan gave up the rights to host the Games because of domestic reasons. Including the Eighth Asiad, Thailand hosted three Asian Games. Israel was expelled from the Asian Games and Syria was readmitted as a member of the Asian Games. United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Lebanon, Qatar and Saudi Arabia were newly admitted to Asian Games. The Bangkok Asian Games Organizing Committee suddenly proposed to use the name of the Republic of Korea rather then Korea. At the last minute, just before the opening ceremony, the Organizing Committee decided to continue to use the name Korea. 3,842 athletes representing 25 countries compete in 19 different sports between 9-20 December 1978. Archery and bowling were new sports and yachting was revived in the Games. Japan ranked first garnering 70 gold, 58 silver and 49 bronze medals. The People's Republic of China followed Japan with 51 gold, 20 silver and 45 bronze medals. Korea won third place, winning 18 gold, 20 silver and 31 bronze medals and D.P.R. Korea placed fourth with 15 gold, 13 silver and 15 bronze medals.Back to the Top

The Ninth Asiad in New Delhi, India

The Ninth Asian Games in New Delhi, 19 November through 4 December 1982, was the first Asian Games under the control of the OCA. The AGF, under whose jurisdiction the first eight Asian Games had been held, dissolved to make way for the OCA. 4,595 athletes representing 33 countries competed in 21 sports. The number of the participating countries was the greatest in Asian Games history. Handball, equestrian sports, rowing and golf were played for the first time in Asian Games history. Fencing and bowling were not included in the 21 events of the Ninth Asiad. Garnering 61 gold, 51 silver, and 41 bronze medals, the People's Republic of China replaced Japan, which won 57 gold, 52 silver, and 44 bronze medals, as the winner of the first place during the Ninth Asian Games. Korea placed third with 28 gold, 28 silver, and 37 bronze medals, followed by D.P.R. Korea with 17 gold, 19 silver, and 20 bronze medals. Host of the tenth Asiad in 1986 and the 24th Olympiad in 1988, Korea participated in the Ninth Asian Games with a 406-man delegation and an observation team to study the facilities, management and sports events.Back to the Top

The Tenth Asiad in Seoul, Korea

The tenth Asian Games was held in Seoul, Korea, from September 20 to October 5, 1986, with 3,345 athletes (755 women) from 27 countries and regions participating. There were 269 events in 25 sports, with judo and taekwondo as newly added sports. 83 Asian records and 3 world records were broken and 2 world records were equalled. Attending the opening ceremony were the Korean president, the Japanese prime minister, the OCA president Sheikh Fahad Al Sabah, the IOC president Juan Antonio Samaranch and officials from various international sports organizations. The tenth Asian Games to be held in Seoul, so sports facilities, stadiums and gymnasiums were all constructed according to the requirements of the Olympic Games. China sent 385 athletes to participate in 20 sports and won 94 gold medals, holding sway over Asia for the second time. The Indian woman athletic star P.T. Usha won 4 firsts, becoming the biggest winner of gold medals in athletics. Hamada Ahmad from Bahrain defeated his Japanese opponent and Won a gold medal in men 400m hurdle. Hong Kong bowling player Chen Ju Hong Won the first gold medal for Hong Kong in the history of the Asiad. Chinese gymnast Li Ning won 4 gold medals and silver medals, becoming the biggest winner of medals at the Games. Japanese hammer player Murobushi Shgenobu became champion for the fifth successive time since the sixth Asian Games.Back to the Top

The Eleventh Asiad in Beijing, China

The 11th Asian Games was held from September 22 to October 7 in 1990 in Beijing, the capital of China, with the motto "unity, friendship and progress". Participating were 4,655 athletes (1,462 women) from 37 countries and regions. There were 308 events in 27 sports, with softball, sepak takraw, wushu, kabaddi and rowing as newly-added sports, and baseball and soft tennis as demonstration sports. With the largest number of sports ever seen in the Asiad, the 11th Asian Games was the first large scale international sports meet to be held in the history of China. 7 world records were bettered, 89 Asian records broken, 189 Asian Games records and one world record, 11 Asian records and 20 Asian Games records were equalled.Back to the Top

The Twelveth Asiad in Hiroshima, Japan

The 12th Games in Hiroshima, with the participation of 6828 athletes and official from 42 NOCs, including five Central Asian countries newly independent from the former Soviet Union, and featuring 34 sports, broke the Beijing records and became the largest event ever in the history of the Asian Games.Back to the Top

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