November 21 - Asia and Africa have made a strong and active commitment to break down still further the gender equality barriers facing in women in sport as the first Afro-Asian Women and Sport Forum came to a close in Kuwait.
Organised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (ANOCA), the three-day event - attended by representatives from all 98 African and Asian National Olympic Committees - outlined the achievements already made, while identifying the challenges ahead for women in sport in the two continents.
The forum also included the drawing up of an action plan with a view to including women representatives in all committees; monitoring and communicating women's participation in the world of sport at all levels; and organising an Afro-Asian Women and Sport Forum every two years.
"Africa and Asia may have started late in terms of women's sport but our development has been the fastest in recent years," OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said as he opened the meeting.
"Africa and Asia have a total of 11 female IOC members, which is the highest percentage among the five continents.
"I'm also very proud that all of our 98 NOCs sent female delegates to participate in the London 2012 Olympic Games."
His words were echoed by ANOCA President Lassana Palenfo, who also was keen to remind attendees that while much progress has been made to ensure the inclusion of women in the global sport movement, there is, however, still work to be done.
"Africa and Asia should work on measures to bolster ties within sport, and I wish this forum could be the perfect opportunity to address obstacles and develop women's sports in both continents," he explained.
Meanwhile, IOC member and Women and Sport Commission chair Anita DeFrantz described the forum as "a wonderful gathering for all African and Asian NOCs".
"I have been very impressed with the quality of the speakers' presentations and the questions and feedback from the participants.
"I believe the outcomes from this forum will make a big change.
"Together with the IOC, the leadership of ANOC, the OCA and ANOCA, it will have a positive impact on women and sport."
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