LAHORE: The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) will hold a Fun Run to promote the upcoming 18th Asian Games Jakarta-Palembang 2018 at WAPDA Sports Complex here on Thursday (today). The 18th Asiad will be held in Indonesia from August 18 to September 2, 2018, with 10,000 athletes from 45 countries and regions in 42 sports and 462 events participating. Indonesia will be hosting the Asian Games for the second time, following the fourth edition in Jakarta in 1962. Addressing a press conference at Olympic House on Wednesday, POA president Lt Gen (r) Syed Arif Hasan said that the aim of the Fun Run was to show that why sports were important in human lives and also to promote the Asian Games. Also present on the occasion were OCA media manager Jeans Zhou Jian, OCA international relations official Ms Elena Chakarova, POA secretary general Muhammad Khalid Mahmood and POA vice president Shaukat Javed.“Out of 42 disciplines of the Jakarta Asian Games, Pakistan will be participating in 30 events,” he added. Arif said the 2018 official Fun Run was a dedicated OCA social sports development and promotion programme to be held among selected Asian National Olympic Committees. “I am thankful to the OCA and its chief H.E. Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah for providing an opportunity to Pakistan to hold the first official Fun Run of the 2018 Asian Games.” Arif expressed his pleasure to have the Fun Run in Pakistan, and hoped the participants would to enjoy an exciting day filled with entertainment. Thye second Fun Run will be hosted by Bangladesh on December 11. The Fun Runs will resume in January 2018 and run right through until July 18 in Jakarta – exactly one month before the opening ceremony on August 18 at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in the Indonesian capital. POA secretary general Khalid said that more than 700 school children, both male and female, and Asian Games medal winning athletes and Olympians would be participating in the Fun Run. “The event will start at 12:00 pm and concludes at 2:00 pm,” Khalid said.Speaking on the occasion, OCA media manager Jenes said the Fun Runs were of significant importance for preparations of the Asian Games. “The Fun Runs have a long tradition to celebrate the Asian Games. Events like this help bring out what is best about the Asian Games. Not only do we get a chance to visit beautiful countries but we also have the opportunity to explore different cultures. The Fun Runs offer the chance to bring communities together from all throughout the Middle East and Asia while also encouraging health and fitness. The Fun Runs give children a reason to watch. Our goal is to develop as many young athletes as we can in the region and the Fun Runs offer the chance for more children to get involved.” Jeans added the Fun Runs would match the slogan of the 18th Asian Games by showing the “Energy of Asia” as the excitement builds to the OCA’s showpiece event. To a query, he replied that 28 Fund Runs would be held before the start of the mega Asian event.Meanwhile, OCA president H.E. Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah has said that the enthusiastic response of the National Olympic Committees regarding the Fun Runs show the unity of the continent and the passion for the Asian Games. “The 18th Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia are eight months away and the excitement is building around the continent. Our series of Fun Runs will bring the Asian Games spirit to each country and region and allow everyone who joins Fun Runs to feel a part of the Asian Games,” he said. “I would like to thank our NOCs once again for their solidarity and cooperation in helping the OCA put together such an interesting Fun Runs journey through all five zones of our continent. We are sure they will be fun and memorable days on the road to the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta next year,” he maintained.Published in Daily Times, December 7th 2017.