LAHORE: The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has signed the Host City Contract for the 6th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games 2021 (AIMAG) to be hosted by the Kingdom of Thailand. The signing ceremony took place on Thursday (April 23) and was conducted via video conference link between the Sports Authority of Thailand in Bangkok and the OCA HQ in Kuwait. The 6th AIMAG will take place in two cities, Bangkok City and Pattaya City in Chonburi province, in the first half of 2021 on dates to be finalised. There will be 24 sports on the programme. The President of the Olympic Council of Asia, His Excellency Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, said in a statement on Monday it was very disappointing not to be in Thailand for the signing ceremony and that he fully understood the “complicated” situation caused by the COVID-19 disease. Sheikh Ahmad wished good health to His Majesty the King of Thailand, the Olympic movement and the Thai people and said he hoped the world would recover soon. “We appreciate that the National Olympic Committee of Thailand and the Royal Government of Thailand have been a great supporter of Asian Olympic Movement for many years and hosted the first Asian Indoor Games in 2005,” said Sheikh Ahmad. “Thailand has always recognised the potential and the demand of these games and, with their experience, we are sure they will be very successful in 2021. We are working together to continue our calendar, whatever the situation in the world, because this is our duty. I wish all success to the 6th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games next year – and thank you for your understanding that we cannot come to your beautiful country to celebrate the signing of the host city contract. We will keep working together and keep our unity and our solidarity. Congratulations for hosting the 6th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in 2021,” Sheikh Ahmad added. The President of the National Olympic Committee of Thailand, Deputy Prime Minister His Excellency Gen Prawit Wongsuwon, thanked the OCA on behalf of the Royal Thai Government for awarding hosting rights. “Bangkok hosted the first Asian Indoor Games in 2005 and the first Asian Martial Arts Games in 2009 and now we will have the honour of hosting the merged event for the first time,” said Gen Prawit. With the commitment of the Royal Thai Government and the Ministry of Tourism and Sport we are sure the games will be a tremendous success. Although we are apart due to the need for social distancing, I feel that sport and the Olympic Movement brings us close together.” The contracts were signed and sealed in Bangkok, scanned and sent by email to Kuwait, where they were printed out, signed by Sheikh Ahmad and returned to the Thai authorities. The two parties were connected through the Huawei Cloud Video Conference System. The 24 sports for the 6th AIMAG in 2021 are: Indoor athletics, cue sports, bowling, dance sport, chess, futsal, roller sports/climbing, short-course swimming (25m), muay, jujitsu, BMX cycling, hoop takraw/sepak takraw, kurash, floorball, netball, taekwondo, indoor hockey, karate, e-sports, badminton (three events), pencak silat, cheerleading, sambo, indoor rowing. History of AIMAG: The OCA’s Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games is an amalgamation of the Asian Indoor Games and Asian Martial Arts Games. The first Asian Indoor Games was held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2005, the second in Macau, China in 2007 and the third in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2009. The first Asian Martial Arts Games was held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2009. The two events merged to form the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games for the 2013 event in Incheon, Korea. This was recorded as the fourth AIMAG as it incorporated the sports from the first three Asian Indoor Games. The fifth AIMAG was held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan in 2017.