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The Asian Games are also referred to as Asiad. This multi-sport event is held every four years in Asia allowing athletes from all over the Asian contentment to compete.
The Asian Games were initially organized by Indian professor Guru Dutt Sondhi. It had been a vision of his to hold such games for a number of years, and this came to be a reality when the first games were held in 1951 in New Delhi. Only 11 countries participated in first games, but the number has grown to as many as 46 competing countries.
The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation (AGF) from the first Games in New Delhi, India until the 1982 Games. Since the 1982 they have been organised by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), after the break up of the Asian Games Federation.
The Asian Games have been hosted by numerous countries. Thailand has hosted the games more than any other nation, having hosted the games four times. Other countries that have hosted the games include: Korea, Indonesia, Iran, India, China, the Philippines, Japan, and Qatar.
The number of competitions in Asiad has steadily grown from 57 the first year they were held to 424 in 2006.
Following the break-up of the Soviet Union, several former Soviet Republics began to take part in the Asian Games, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Australia requested permission to participate in Asiad, but was denied entrance. It was felt that their participation would not be fair to the other countries in Oceania, which would not be included.
It was first in 1962 when Israel's presence in the games became controversial. Then again in 1973, Arab nations were protesting the inclusion of Israel in the games. Eventually Israel was excluded and encouraged to participate in European athletic events. Taiwan (Republic of China) has also been the focus of controversy, but that was eventually dealt with as in the Olympic Games. Taiwan competes as Chinese Taipei.
Only seven countries -- India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand -- have competed in all editions of the games.
The Olympic Council of Asia has officially confirmed the 16th Asian Games as the biggest in history in terms of athlete participation. Following the final registration by the 45 National Olympic Committees, the official figure of 9,704 athletes is 184 more than the 9,520 who competed in Doha, Qatar, four years ago. With 4,750 team officials also in Guangzhou, the final number of NOC representatives is 14,454.