At-a-glance guide to the Hangzhou Asian Games

HANGZHOU, China: The 19th Asian Games take place in the Chinese city of Hangzhou from Saturday after a delay of a year caused by China's strict zero-Covid rules.

Here is everything you need to know about the multisports extravaganza – bigger than the Olympic Games in terms of number of participants:

• Hangzhou, a modern city of about 12 million people, lies 160 kilometres (100 miles) southwest of Shanghai, in Zhejiang province.

It sits on the Qiantang River and is the southern terminus of the Grand Canal, the longest canal in the world, which runs 1,800 kilometres from Beijing and is regarded as the second ancient wonder of China after the Great Wall.

Hangzhou is one of China's ancient capitals, known in the past as both Hangchew and Hangchow before settling for the current name in the year 589.

• 40 sports, including 31 of the 32 Olympic sports that will be staged at the Paris 2024 Games with surfing the one missing from Hangzhou.

The nine non-Olympic sports in Hangzhou includes eSports, which will be an Asian Games medal event for the first time after being a demonstration sport in 2018.

There are also some more quirky ones such as kurash, an ancient form of wrestling from Uzbekistan, and the card game of bridge.

• About 12,000 athletes from 45 countries and territories across Asia and the Middle East will be in action, making it the largest Asian Games ever.

By comparison, there were 11,420 athletes at the Olympic Games in Tokyo two years ago.

• 54 with 14 newly constructed. The Hangzhou Olympic Sports complex is the centrepiece with venues for athletics, basketball, football, squash, swimming and tennis. The opening and closing ceremonies will be hosted at the Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, also known as "the Big Lotus."

The majority of events will take place in Hangzhou city but some will be held elsewhere.

The cities of Shaoxing and Ningbo will also host events, as will Wenzhou, a port city 300km to the south which will stage dragon boat racing and football.

• The first Asiad was held in New Delhi in 1951 and featured athletics, aquatics, basketball, cycling, football and weightlifting.

China has hosted twice previously: Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.

The 2018 Games took place in Jakarta and the 2026 edition will be hosted by Aichi and Nagoya in Japan.

• Medals are named Shan Shui and depict landscapes of Hangzhou, such as an ancient bridge. The ribbons are hand-stitched.

Three sports-playing robots, Congcong (yellow colour), Lianlian (green) and Chenchen (blue) are the Games mascots with each linked to a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the city.

Congcong represents the archaeological ruins of Liangzhu City, Lianlian represents the city's West Lake and Chenchen is for the Grand Canal, science and technology.--AFP

Most Popular
Related Article
Says Stories