The contract ceremony for the Games was held virtually ©OCA

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has officially signed the Host City Contract for the 2021 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG), which will be hosted in Thailand.

Bangkok and Pattaya in Chonburi province will share the sixth edition of the Games next year, when 24 sports will be on the programme.

It means the Games are returning to Bangkok, which hosted the first edition of the Asian Indoor Games in 2005.

The Thai capital was also the host of the Asian Martial Arts Games in 2009, before the two events merged in 2013.

The signing ceremony took place via video conference between the Sports Authority of Thailand in Bangkok and the OCA headquarters in Kuwait.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the President of the OCA Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said it was disappointing that they could not sign the contract in person. 

He wished good health to the King of Thailand, the Olympic Movement and the Thai people.

Contracts were scanned and e-mailed between Thailand and Kuwait ©OCA
Contracts were scanned and e-mailed between Thailand and Kuwait ©OCA

"We appreciate that the National Olympic Committee of Thailand and the Royal Government of Thailand have been a great supporter of the Asian Olympic Movement for many years and hosted the first Asian Indoor Games in 2005," he said.

"Thailand has always recognised the potential and the demand of these Games and, with their experience, we are sure they will be very successful in 2021.

"We are working together to continue our calendar, whatever the situation in the world, because this is our duty.

"I wish all success to the sixth Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games next year - and thank you for your understanding that we cannot come to your beautiful country to celebrate the signing of the host city contract."

Sports which will feature in 2021 include indoor athletics, cue sports, bowling, dance sport, esports, floorball, futsal and chess.

The contracts were signed and sealed in Bangkok, scanned and sent by email to Kuwait.

Here, they were printed out, signed by Sheikh Ahmad and returned to the Thai authorities.

As well as Sheikh Ahmad, the OCA was represented by honorary life vice president Raja Randhir Singh, vice president Dr. Thani Al Kuwari, vice president and Sports Committee chairman Song Luzeng, advisor to the OCA President Dr. Somsak Leeswadtrakul, OCA director general Husain Al Musallam, Asian Games department director Haider Farman and international and NOC relations director Vinod Tiwari.

The last edition of the Games in 2017 were held in Ashgabat in Turkmenistan.