Doha to host Asian Youth Championships in 2015…

The 2015 season is going to be a busy one for Asian athletics. Besides the existing events, a couple of new tournaments have been added to the calendar. One of those is the Asian Youth Athletic Championships from the 2015 season, the inaugural edition of which will be hosted by Doha.
Another new addition to the current (2014) season is a selection trials for the Youth Olympic Games, which will be hosted by Nanjing city in China this August. The selection tournament would be held in the Thailand capital of Bangkok from May 21-22.
The new events were among the many things discussed during the 78th council meeting of the Asian Athletics Association (AAA) in Doha, which concluded on Sunday.
The two-day meeting, which was presided by AAA president General Dahlan Jumaan al-Hamad, was also attended, among others, by pole vault legend and IAAF vice-president Sergei Bubka, besides other council members.
Dahlan, who is also the president of Qatar Athletics Federation (QAF), stressed on the need to raise the bar as far as the sport in Asia is concerned.
“Asia should change. We need to improve, we need to raise our level. The continent should be at the pinnacle of everything. We are working towards it, and it involves a lot of hard work and commitment. But we are confident we shall reach there,” the AAA chief told reporters at the conclusion of the two-day meeting.
Youth development has been identified as one of the main stress areas for the Asian body to work upon.
Towards that end, Dahlan urged the national federations of all the member countries to help inculcate athletic values at the school level. One of the suggestions is to set up school and youth commissions wherever necessary in member federations in a bid to raise awareness on the importance of youth programmes.
Dahlan felt that the youth programme was suffering because the priority was more on getting immediate results rather than focusing on the future.
“Long-term planning and grass-root level development should be our focus. And we need to find ways to encourage the youth. That’s why we have decided to have an Asian Youth Athletic Championships next year. The dates have not been decided yet, but it would be held before the World Championships so as to give our athletes the incentive to qualify,” Dahlan added.
The 15th IAAF World Athletics Championships would be held in Beijing from August 22-30, so in all likelihood the inaugural Asian event would be held sometime in May-June.
However, there would be no Asian Grand Prix events this season. In 2013, all three legs of the Asian GP were hosted by Thailand. “As Thailand would be hosting the selection trials for the Youth Olympic Games in May, the same time as the Asian GP, they expressed their inability to host the events this time. So we have decided to scrap the Asian GP legs for this season,” explained Katsuyuki Tanaka, one of the vice-presidents of the AAA.
Upcoming events
March 16: Asian 20km Race Walking Championships, Nomi City, Japan
May 21-22: Youth Olympic Games Selection Trials, Bangkok, Thailand
June 12-15: Asian Junior Athletics
Championships, Taipei City
August 16-28: Youth Olympic Games,
Nanjing City, China
September 19-October 4: Asian Games, Incheon, South Korea

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