Asia's rising but it needs to unite behind strong voice

Asia's rising but it needs to unite behind strong voice

On Sunday morning, most of Asia would have celebrated when Tokyo won the race to host the 2020 Olympics.

But it was also a day when the task of crowning a first Asian president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a tough ask to begin with, became near impossible.

The Japanese capital's win meant that Asia would be hosting three Olympic Games in the next seven years: the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympics, the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games.

For some members of the IOC, electing an Asian president on the back of an Asian swing would be a case of too much Asia in too short a time.

The whispers started on Sunday morning in Buenos Aires, after Tokyo's win the night before. But as Tuesday's presidential election neared, the "too much Asian" momentum grew.

"I would say Tokyo's win was one factor," IOC member from New Zealand Barry Maister told The Straits Times. "After Nanjing, Pyeongchang and Tokyo, perhaps there was this thought of a move back to Europe."

It was a view shared by Dick Pound, a member from Canada.

He was a presidential candidate in the 2001 election, which saw Belgian Jacques Rogge become president.

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