Yuko Arakida, chair of the Olympic Council of Asia's (OCA) Athletes' Committee, has hailed the success of the second Asian Athletes' Forum.
The three-day event, supported by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC) and Olympic Movement stakeholders, took place in Kuwait and was attended by some 125 participants.
Arakida, a Japanese Olympic volleyball gold medallist at Montreal 1976, was joined by members of the OCA Athletes' Committee and other National Olympic Committee representatives at the forum, while Asian IOC members Mikee Cojuangco-Jaworski of the Philippines and Yang Yang of China, and IOC Athletes' Commission chair Claudia Bokel and ANOC Athletes' Commission chair Barbara Kendall gave presentations to the attendees.
"We had a great response from the National Olympic Committees in Asia and there were a lot of opinions and proposals over the three days," Arakida, a member of the Executive Board of Tokyo 2020, said.
"The participants included 10 chairs of Athletes' Committees in Asian NOCs (National Olympic Committees) and 18 athletes who have competed in the Olympic Games, as well as almost 30 members of Athletes' Committees in Asia.
"We received very good support from athletes in Kuwait."
Arakida claimed the forum was designed to promote communication and networking among the NOCs to help create further ideas for representing the interests and wellbeing of athletes.
She also said it is hoped the event will lead to the development of more Athletes' Committees across the continent, with 37 of the 45 NOCs already having athlete representative bodies in place.
"The main purpose of the forum was to encourage all the NOCs to establish an Athletes' Committee because the input and the experience of the athletes is very important for the Olympic Movement," Arakida added.
"We feel that the NOC delegates gained a lot of knowledge from the forum that they can take back to their own countries and put into practice.
"We wanted to show them the importance of having an Athletes' Committee as part of the NOC and we gave them a lot of information about Olympic Solidarity, the Athletes' Career Programme and other topics."
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