HONG KONG (AFP) - Athletes from Oceania - including sporting powerhouse Australia - will compete in athletics and four other sports when the region takes part at the Asian Games for the first time, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) said.
About 300 athletes from Oceania will be able to compete in triathlon, wushu, roller-skating, weightlifting and athletics at the multisport extravaganza next September in Hangzhou, China.
"Oceania will be taking part for the first time at the Asian Games," director general Husain Al-Musallam told an OCA meeting in Dubai, according to a press release.
"They will receive honorary medals (if they are in the top three) and it will not be counted in the final medals tally."
Oceania - Australia, New Zealand and a swathe of Pacific islands - have not taken part in the regional Games before, but sporting ties with Asia have been growing.
The 2022 Asian Games will see 10,000 athletes compete in 40 sports across 55 venues, with e-sports making its debut as an official medal event.