Hangzhou Asian Games ready to welcome all guests
Countdown: Day 100
Published: Jun 14, 2023 11:10 AM

The Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, the main venue of the Hangzhou Asian Games Photo: VCG

The Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, the main venue of the Hangzhou Asian Games Photo: VCG

With the start of the 100-day countdown to the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province on Thursday, the Asian Games flame will be lit at the ancient Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu, igniting the spark of anticipation of all Asian athletes. Officials said all 45 Olympic committees from Asian countries and regions have registered to participate in the Games and many of them will be sending their largest delegation in history. More than 900 Chinese athletes will participate in the Games in total.

"We could feel the high anticipation and passion of all the athletes from various Asian countries and regions for the sports feast. Sports pave the way for exchanges and mutual learning among civilizations, and I believe this grand event manifests our Asian community's shared future," Zhou Jinqiang, a vice president with the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee and deputy head of the General Administration of Sport of China, said at a press conference of the State Council Information Office on Wednesday.

Due to the pandemic, the 2022 Asian Games and Asian Para Games were postponed until 2023. The Asian Games are set for September 23 to October 8, followed by the Asian Para Games from October 22 to 28.

According to Zhou, the Hangzhou Asian Games, the largest and highest-level international comprehensive sports event held in China since the country optimized its COVID-19 strategy, is an important platform for Asian sports solidarity and cooperation. In addition to traditional sports, the Games will also feature esports and breakdancing as official events for the first time. Over 12,000 athletes from across Asia, 5,000 team officials, 4,700 technical officials, 12,000 media reporters, and millions of spectators are expected to participate, making it the largest Games ever.

The three mascots of the Games Photo: VCG

The three mascots of the Games Chenchen, Congcong and Lianlian  Photo: VCG

Fully prepared

According to Zhou, the 19th Asian Games will have 40 major programs, 61 sub-programs, and a total of 483 minor programs. These programs include both the main Olympic sports such as track and field, and swimming as well as some distinctive sports from Asia such as wushu, sepak takraw (kick volleyball), cricket and jujutsu.

To date, Hangzhou has run 42 test events for the Asian Games, with another 13 scheduled ahead of the Games. A total of 58 doping inspection stations have been set up at competition venues and the Asian Games Village, while a digital platform ­independently developed by China will carry out paperless doping inspections to promote anti-doping policies.

The main venue, the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, is currently one of three sports stadiums in China with a capacity of over 80,000 people. It will host both the opening and closing ceremonies of the Hangzhou Asian Games and the Asian Para Games, as well as the athletics competitions.

Li Yanyi, vice governor of the People's Government of Zhejiang Province, said at the press conference that all 56 competition venues (including those for the Asian Para Games) have been completed and passed inspections. The Asian Games Village and sub-villages have also been completed and are ready for occupancy. 

The Asian Games have assembled 41 competition venue teams, 30 non-competition venue teams, and 21 ­independent training venue teams. 

"We have recruited and trained 50,000 volunteers for the competitions and 1.42 million volunteers to serve around the city. We strive to make all guests in Zhejiang feel comfortable and as warm as their own home," Li said.

In addition, the event has opened its competition and training venues to the public before the Games, attracting more than 8 million people to participate in fitness activities. The Asian Games Museum has also been established to preserve the legacy of the Asian Games and promote the Asian Olympic spirit.

Smart event

To enhance the experience for spectators and promote sustainability, the Hangzhou Asian Games has introduced a number of innovative technologies, including unmanned aerial vehicles, holograms, 5G plus 8K, AI plus AR, 360-degree viewing angles, and bullet-time effects. Projects such as autonomous driving, AR sign language robots, digital yuan, and cloud streaming will also be implemented.

Among the 56 competition venues, only 12 are newly built, while the others have been rebuilt or are temporary buildings. All 31 training venues have been renovated using sustainable materials in keeping with the aim to achieve an inaugural carbon-neutral Games.

"All venues are fully scheduled, and some competitions will be held before the opening ceremony," said Yao Gaoyuan, another vice president with the organizing committee.

According to Yao, a digital application platform has received more than 3.3 billion visits and has acquired over 50 million registered users.

The platform provides accurate daily schedules for events during the Games, including cultural information, event ticketing information, transportation guidance, dining recommendations, language support including Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, Russian, and Arabic, and other related support services. 

In addition, the platform has introduced the first-ever digital torch and digital torchbearer for the Asian Games. All registered users can participate in online activities and become "Digital Torchbearers" who take part in the "Online Torch Relay."

"With this digital platform, visitors can get a more comfortable and convenient viewing experience," said Yao.