Where EAST meets the Northwest
ESPORTS. The South Korea team celebrate with their gold medals after their
victory at the Esports League of Legends final between South Korea and Taiwan at
the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. (AP Photo/Louise Delmotte)
ASIAN GAMES. Rusdi Rusdi of Indonesia returns the ball during a men’s Group A
sepaktakraw preliminary match against Myanmar at Jinhua Sports Centre at the
19th Asian Games in Jinhua, China. The first Asian Games were held in 1951 in
New Delhi, India. This year’s Asian Games were a celebration for Hangzhou, a
city of 10 million. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
16 DAYS. Team China performs during the team free routine artistic swimming
competition at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. The Asian Games closed
its 16-day run at the 80,000-seat Olympic Sports Center Stadium with host nation
China again in command. China won 201 gold medals and 383 overall at the
competition. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
India’s players celebrate during the women’s final cricket match between Sri
Lanka and India at the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. (AP Photo/Louise
India’s Ancy Sojan Edappilly competes during the women’s long jump final at
the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
China’s dragon boat team celebrates after finishing first in
the Women’s Dragon Boat 200m Grand Final during the 19th Asian Games at the
Wenzhou Dragon Boat Center in Wenzhou, China. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)
Taiwan’s Guan Ling Chen competes in the women’s 55kg Group A
weightlifting final at 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China. (AP Photo/Aijaz
China’s Fan Zhendong serves the ball to South Korea’s Jang Woojin in the
Table Tennis Men’s Singles semifinal match for the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
From The Asian Reporter, V33, #11 (November 6, 2023), page 13 & 19.
The Asian Games close in China as the hosts dominate the medal
count. Nagoya, Japan, coming next.
By Stephen Wade
The Associated Press
HANGZHOU, China — The Asian Games closed its 16-day run at the 80,000-seat
Olympic Sports Center Stadium with host nation China again in command as Premier
Li Qiang ended a show aimed partly at winning the hearts of its Asian neighbors.
They’re officially called the Asian Games, but the more accurate description
would be the "China Games," illustrative of the country’s four-decade domination
of the continental, multi-sports championships.
The 19th Asian Games — they began in 1951 in New Delhi, India — were a
celebration for Hangzhou, a city of 10 million, the headquarters of Alibaba and
a sprawling metropolis overshadowed by an even larger metropolis — neighboring
"We have achieved the goal of a streamlined, safe, and spectacular games,"
spokesperson Xu Deqing said. State media reported the spending to prepare for
the games at approximately $30 billion.
Vinod Kumar Tiwari, the acting general secretary of the Olympic Council of
Asia, called them "by far the largest ever Asian Games."
The secretary general of the organizing committee, Chen Weiqiang,
characterized this version of the Asian Games as a "branding" campaign for
"The city of Hangzhou has been fundamentally changed," he said. "It is fair
to say the Asian Games are a key driver for the takeoff of the city."
These were bigger than any previous Asian Games with almost 12,500
competitors. Next year’s Paris Olympics will have about 10,500, similar to the
Asian Games in 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the forecast for 2026 when the
games move to Nagoya, Japan.
One of the few records China didn’t break this time was its overall medal
haul of 416 when the 2010 Asian Games took place in the southern Chinese city of
This time, China won 201 gold medals and 383 overall. The next two teams —
Asian powers Japan and South Korea — had fewer overall medals combined than
China. Of course, their combined population is about one-eighth of China’s.
Japan won 52 gold, and South Korea 42. Combined, this was less than half of
China’s gold total.
Twelve of the 45 nations or territories that entered had five medals or fewer
and four — Bhutan, Maldives, Yemen, and Macao — failed to win a single medal.
"How can we rate the performance of the Hangzhou Asian Games?’’ Wei Jizhong,
the 87-year-old vice president of the Olympic Council of Asia, asked
rhetorically in a news conference.
"We don’t rank Asian Games against others. But in terms of hosting games in
China, let’s compare them with ourselves. I will give a 99 score. I always
believe there is room for further improvement."
The games offered all the traditional Olympic sports, and also a glimpse of
one sport that’s previewing next year in Paris — breaking, or breakdancing. And
another, cricket, which will be included in either the 2028 Los Angeles
Olympics, or in 2032 in Brisbane.
Esports was a official entry for the first time, and a giant favorite.
Esports is not in the Olympics yet, but the International Olympic Committee
(IOC) is trying to figure out a way to capitalize on its mammoth revenue stream.
The games showcased so-called "mind sports" like chess and contract bridge,
and offered some unique entries you won’t see anywhere else in a multi-sports
event: dragon boat racing, kabaddi, sepaktakraw (foot volleyball), 3x3
basketball, and roller skating.
Yasuhiro Nakamori, the acting director general for the 2026 Aichi-Nagoya
Games, said Japan would build only two new venues, unwilling to splurge as it
did for the recent Tokyo Olympics.
Hangzhou is reported to have built 56 sports facilities and 30 training sites
as well as major infrastructure investments for the games, which were delayed a
year by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nakamori said the Chinese "hardware was wonderful. We can’t pretend those
kind of games. Our concept is to use existing venues."‘
He said the two new venues that were being built are a stadium and an arena.
In addition, Nagoya will use the swimming and diving venue in Tokyo built for
the 2020 Olympics, and will hold cycling and equestrian events near Tokyo.
"That means we have to work on the software and people power," he added. "For
our side it is a disadvantage because we lose one year, especially for the
Chen, the secretary general of the local organizing committee, was asked if
Hangzhou would consider an Olympic bid.
"The venues are suitable to hold a large, multi-sport event like the
Olympics," Chen said. "After the close of the Asian Games, what we focus on is
how the venues can be extensively used by the people. But we haven’t thought
about whether we would hold the Olympic Games."
* * *
Read the current issue of The Asian Reporter in its entirety!
Go to <www.asianreporter.com/completepaper.htm>!