Over 100 Asian and Pacific athletes have arrived in Marrakesh, Morroco to compete in the 2014 IAAF Continental Cup this weekend.
Team Asia-Pacific is unique with two presidents residing over the two continents. The continents represent 65 IAAF member federations, nearly one-third of the IAAF associations and 4.5 billion people, about 61% of the world’s population.
During a team welcome Presidents’ of the two areas, Geoff Gardiner for Oceania and Dahlan Jumaan Al Hamad for Asia, spoke about the desire to work together.
“This is a very great moment if we look to the IAAF as a global Federation, the only two continents who are working together are ours, Oceania and Asia. This is a good example for all continents,” said Al Hamad.
“We are here to represent our continents; we are here to show unity I am sure that all of us feel that way.”
Gardiner was in total agreement.
“This is the second occasion we have worked together on the Continental Cup and it indicates our growing cooperation between our two area associations,” said Gardiner.
An example of how the two Continents are working together was outlined in a new competition plan for the regions.
“We are working on the concept of an Asia-Pacific competition circuit,” said Gardiner. “It allows our top athletes to compete a little closer to home. We are looking at an early season introduction to the global calendar. We think it is an important step for our athletes, rather than them having to travel to Europe for competition. It is a work in progress. We are working hand in hand and the IAAF Council and IAAF President are supportive of our efforts.”
Two throwers have been named as the captains of the 2014 IAAF Asia-Pacific team. Competing in her fourth Continental/World Cup, Valerie Adams (NZL) was named the women’s captain, while hammer thrower Dilshod Nararov (TJK), Olympic and World championships finalist is the men’s captain.
The Presidents wished the Asia-Pacific all the best
“The most important for us is not just to compete but do our best,” said Asian Athletics Association President, Dahlan Jumaan Al Hamad.
“If you don’t make the podium this time, you will next time. I am really happy to see you all here.”
“I join with Dilan in wishing you the very best for the competition,’ said Geoff Gardiner, Oceania Athletics Association President.
“You have been selected on world rankings and are capable of going toe-to-toe with the best in the world. I know you will do your very best.”
David Tarbotton for Oceania Athletics Association
Image: 2014 Continental Cup team (courtesy of Bob Snow)