Biggest-ever Asian Games begin in China’s Hangzhou
Baku, September 24, AZERTAC
The 19th edition of the Asian Games opened in the Chinese city of Hangzhou on Saturday, as Chinese President Xi Jinping and leaders of several other nations attended the opening ceremony, according to Anadolu Agency.
“The opening day of the Hangzhou Asian Games aligns with the Autumn Equinox, one of China's 24 solar terms. It symbolizes harvest and reunion in the Chinese culture,” according to the Shanghai Daily.
“8pm tonight! Over 100 million ‘digital torchbearers’ will join the on-site torchbearers to ignite the main torch during the #19thAsianGames opening ceremony, marking the first-ever "digital reality fusion" ignition ceremony in Asian Games history!” it added.
The opening ceremony “consists of 15 segments, which include the parade of athletes and the lighting of the cauldron. The opening day of the Hangzhou Asian Games aligns with the Autumn Equinox, one of China's 24 solar terms. It symbolizes harvest and reunion in the Chinese culture," state-run Global Times reported.
Over 12,000 athletes from 45 nations are participating in Asia’s biggest sporting event to compete in 40 sports.
"This was confirmed at the Chefs de Mission meeting at the Athletes Village on Thursday morning, underlining the number of athletes – around 12,500 – as the largest in Asian Games history," said the event organizers in a statement published on their website.
The previous highest was 11,300 at the 18th Asian Games in Indonesia in 2018.
North Korea has also sent some 200 athletes to Hangzhou, as they skipped the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, citing COVID-19 concerns.
Among the attendants of the opening ceremony were South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo, Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao, Crown Prince of Kuwait Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and head of Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad.
Ahead of the opening ceremony, athletes marched into the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium from designated gates where the crowd welcomed them.
The Asian Games, which were supposed to take place last September but were postponed because of COVID-19, will run through Oct. 8.