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Australia on the horizon
Australia may compete in future Asian Games.
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2006 20:55 GMT

The likes of Grant Hackett would add some spice to the pool (Picture: GALLO/GETTY)

Swimming fans who would like to see powerhouse Australia taking on the likes of China and Japan in the pool may get their wish after the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) saying they were ready for talks with the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC).
"It's possible for Australia to take part in the Asian Games in future," OCA vice president Manuel Silverio told China's Xinhua news agency.

"It was mentioned by some of us but has yet to be discussed officially in the OCA."
  
The OCA, grouping 45 Asian Olympic committees, oversees the Asian Games.
  
AOC secretary general Craig Phillips told Xinhua they would consider any invitation positively.
  
"We would certainly consider the invitation in a positive manner," he was quoted as saying.
  
"But we would need to confer with our member sports. Some are very keen for more top level competition in Asia, others are not so keen because of links with Oceania.
  
"The AOC believes we can improve in sports like gymnastics, judo, wrestling and taekwondo by competing against the best in Asia," added Phillips.
  
Australian competitors are currently excluded because Australia's national Olympic committee is part of Oceania.

Following football
  
But earlier this year Australia broke ranks with Oceania and joined the Asian Football Confederation, which organises the Asian Games soccer tournament.
  
They have since qualified for the 2007 Asian Cup finals.
  
FIFA president Sepp Blatter said last week he would welcome the Socceroos at the Asian Games.
  
"I think (the OCA) will open it in the future to all members of associations ... then I am sure (Australia) will be admitted to all the sports," Blatter told reporters in Doha.

Source:
Agencies
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