Hangzhou hosts largest-ever Asiad
BEIJING, Sept. 22, 2023
BEIJING, Sept. 22, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- A news report from Beijing Review:
Lu Baoquan, a photographer in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, still remembers the excitement humming through the streets during the torch relay for the Beijing Asian Games in 1990. "It was magnificent. I could feel Hangzhou residents' enthusiasm for China to host the Asian Games," Lu told Beijing Review.
Today, 33 years later, the people of Hangzhou can enjoy the Asian Games on their own doorstep.
The Asian Games, also known as Asiad, are regional multi-sport games organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) for athletes from member countries and regions. The inaugural games took place in 1951 in New Delhi, India; from 1954 onward, they were held once every four years. Beijing and Guangzhou hosted the event in 1990 and 2010, respectively.
The 19th Asian Games and the Fourth Asian Para Games are respectively scheduled to run from September 23 to October 8 and on October 22-28. Apart from Hangzhou, five other cities in Zhejiang co-host the events.
On September 8, the torch relay for the COVID-delayed 2022 Asian Games kicked off near the iconic West Lake scenic area in Hangzhou. A total of 2,022 torchbearers participated in the 13-day relay, which moved through 11 cities before returning to Hangzhou for the final leg on September 20.
In line with the sports event's "green, smart, economical and ethical" philosophy, the torch relay also incorporated an online segment: the Digital Torchbearer, i.e., a digital platform where people can pass the torch by shaking their smartphone. And this digital torchbearer is covering huge distances given the next netizen to carry it may find themselves anywhere in the world. After passing the online torch, each torchbearer can download a picture of their coveted moment.
The Hangzhou Asian Games are set to be the largest ever, starring 12,500 athletes from 45 countries and regions competing in 40 sports, 61 disciplines and 481 events.
More than 900 Chinese athletes from a wide range of sports are making their final preparations as they seek to showcase their best form at home.
Beyond traditional sports, esports have been recognized as a medal event starting with the Hangzhou Asiad. From September 23 on, seven games will be featured in official competitions, including League of Legends and Dota 2.
The OCA said in an announcement the decision reflected "the rapid development and popularity of this new form of sports participation among the youth."
The esports competitions will take place inside a new Hangzhou venue. Located in an ecological park about an hour's drive from the city center, this setting is China's first stadium dedicated to esports competitions and also echoes the Games' ethos.
Famous Chinese esports player Hong Lian visited the venue in early June and described it as "a dream come true" for players. "The design of the stadium is very cool and the lighting adds a touch of glamour," he shared his excitement in a short video posted on Douyin, the Chinese domestic version of TikTok, after his visit. "I wish I could compete in this stadium."
A short walk from the esports venue, a large park converted from an old industrial factory will serve as the Games' largest theme park, where visitors will be able to watch all the competitions on eight digital displays. The park will also host a range of activities as the Asiad unfolds.
On August 30, the Hangzhou Asian Games Command Center, along with competition venue teams and independent training venue teams, conducted an all-inclusive drill focusing on arrival and departure services, Asian Games Village operations, media services, event security, competition organization and award ceremonies.
The success of the drill showed all venues are ready to roll for the supersize sports event.
SOURCE Beijing Review