ONOC President celebrates Tokyo 2020 achievements at General Assembly


The Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC) held a General Assembly online Saturday, highlighting successes from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and celebrating the organisation’s 40th anniversary.

ONOC President Robin Mitchell praised Tokyo 2020, calling the Games “magic” and thanked International Olympic Committee (IOC) Coordination Commission chair and Australian Olympic Committee President John Coates for his work in preparing the Olympics.

Mitchell also noted the performances of Australia and New Zealand at the Games, who finished sixth and 13th on the medal table, while acknowledging the five Pacific countries that set national records at Tokyo 2020 and the three Olympic diplomas won by Tonga, marking top-eight finishes.

The ONOC leader later reminded National Olympic Committees (NOCs) that grants from the IOC and ONOC are available for national Athletes’ Commissions.

Ricardo Blas, ONOC secretary general, sent his well wishes to the Cook Islands delegation in New Zealand who were undergoing quarantine following their long trip back home from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

IOC President Thomas Bach also sent a pre-recorded message to the General Assembly.

“Your General Assembly is taking place at a very timely moment, coming shortly after the great success of the Olympic Games,” said Bach.

“It took an unprecedented effort from all of us to make them happen in a safe way.

“We could only make the first postponed Olympic Games a reality because of the support of everyone in our Olympic community.

“This is all the more remarkable due to the many challenges we had to face during the last month of the pandemic.

“It was particularly challenging in Oceania where you were facing border closures and limited flights ahead of Tokyo.

“In the true Olympic spirit you helped each other in this situation.

“Having all Oceania NOCs taking part in Tokyo was a major achievement.”

The IOC’s director of Olympic Solidarity, James MacLeod, reported that one silver medal was won by a Oceanian athlete who was part of the scholarship programme, while three diplomas were won by Olympic Solidarity recipients from the continent.

Of those with scholarships in Oceania, 27 per cent of men qualified for the Games and 49 per cent of women.

MacLeod added that scholarship applications for 2022 close on October 31.

ONOC Athletes’ Commission chair Karo Lelai thanked the organisation for the new webpage for the panel and encouraged athletes to embrace digital marketing.

An anti-doping update was additionally offered.

During 2021, the Oceania Regional Anti-Doping Organisation conducted 55 test across Pacific Islands, including 11 in Guam and Samoa, delegates were told.

ONOC paid tribute to former IOC President Jacques Rogge, New Caledonia Olympic and Sports Committee Charles Cali, former New Zealand Olympic Committee President Sir Eion Edgar, Oceania Table Tennis’ Anthony Ho, former Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee executive Chris Yee and Guam National Olympic Committee founding member Mike Reidy, who all died in 2021.

Mitchell concluded the meeting by saying it would be a “busy three years”, listing the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics, Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, 2022 Pacific Mini Games in Saipan and Solomon Islands 2023 Pacific Games.

“Thank you to all of you for attending the meeting and contributing; and particularly to the Commissions who support us in our work, not only for ONOC but the Pacific Games Council,” said Mitchell.