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‘That is not within our preview’ – OCA authority dodges question on North Korean flag’s presence at Asian Games opening ceremony amid reports of WADA complaints

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« Dr Manikavasagam Jegathesan, Adviser and Honorary Chairman of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Medical Committee and Anti-Doping Commission avoided answering questions regarding the presence of the North Korean flag during the Asian Games opening ceremony.
 »Issue of the flag and participation, I think that is not within our preview. Please address the relevant agency that handles these political as well as relationship matters. Because we are part of the medical services and anti-doping. So I will not attempt to address the issue at this point at this time,” he said while addressing journalists during a press conference on Monday in Hangzhou.
His remarks come after local reports reveal that authorities from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) got in touch with OCA staff members regarding the participation of North Korean athletes, who were declared non-compliant with the WADA code in 2021, in this year’s competition.
It is also reported that WADA members stated that the organisation can take legal action if their sanctions are not implemented during the Asian Games.
When commenting on the issue, Dr Sultan Al Busaidi, Chairman of the OCA Medical Committee and Anti-Doping Commission, said that it is an OCA decision to let athletes compete or not in the tournament and stated that the Asian Games are an opportunity for ‘each and every athlete.’
 »We have got WADA complaints, and at the same time, the OCA has its own policy, » he declared.
At least 200 athletes are reportedly representing the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 18 different sports during the event.
Both authorities also mentioned that over 150 samples of anti-doping tests were sent to a laboratory, but no action has been taken in any case.
“All of this is part of our program, and every athlete must have the feeling that he could be picked. You know, we don’t want people making estimates of numbers. This is our decision as to how we want to institute this, so the most important thing is that every athlete participating in these games must understand that,” Jegathesan stated.
The Asian Games will run until October 8, spanning six Chinese cities, including Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, and hosting over 12,000 athletes from a record 45 countries vying for 481 gold medals across 40 sports. »

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