Sri Lanka has lost the right to host the 2017 Asian Youth Games because of political interference from the government, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said.
The multi-sport event set to be held in the southern town of Hambantota was withdrawn “due to problems with the autonomy of the National Olympic Committee from the government”, an OCA statement said.
The statement gave no further details about what the government interference might have involved. The tournament will instead be offered to Jakarta as a test event for the 2018 Asian Games, with a final decision on the new location due at the OCA general assembly in September.
Hambantota’s hosting was earlier in doubt after media reports last year suggested the OCA, run by Kuwaiti powerbroker Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, was unhappy with the progress being made.
In the same statement, the sheikh, who holds wide influence in world football as well as the Olympic movement, thanked Sapporo for “stepping in” to hold the 2017 Asian Winter Games.
Sheikh Ahmad added that it was not easy to find hosts for the continent’s Winter Games and he urged either Beijing or Almaty, who are bidding for the 2022 Winter Olympics, to hold Asia’s 2021 edition as a test event. (Courtesy AFP)