COVID-delayed Asian Games defy 'difficulties' to enter home straight | Inquirer Sports

COVID-delayed Asian Games defy ‘difficulties’ to enter home straight

/ 05:28 PM June 14, 2023

Asian Games Hangzhou Yellow Dragon Sports Center Stadium

This aerial photo taken on June 14, 2023 shows the Yellow Dragon Sports Center Stadium, a venue of the 19th Asian Games, in Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang province. (Photo by AFP) 

Chinese organizers said Wednesday there had been “a lot of difficulties” but Asian Games venues were ready for the pandemic-delayed competition with 100 days to go.

The Games in Hangzhou were due to take place in September 2022 but were postponed by a year because of China’s strict COVID-19 rules.

Beijing abruptly dropped its zero COVID-19 measures in December and organizing committee vice-chairman Zhou Jinqiang said Wednesday: “All preparations have entered the sprint stage.”

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The Games, one of the world’s largest multi-sport events, begin on September 23 and last two weeks.

All 56 competition venues are ready but organizing committee official Chen Weidong said that the pandemic “brought a lot of difficulties to our venue construction”.

Foreign technical staff had been unable to enter China previously and problems had to be sorted out over video calls, Chen said.

China’s status as a sporting destination took a severe hit during the first three years of the pandemic, when snap lockdowns and travel rules saw almost all international events canceled in the country.

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The Asian Games typically attract more than 10,000 athletes from across the region.

Zhou said many countries were sending their largest-ever delegations this year, with China’s team boasting more than 900 competitors.

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Hangzhou is a prosperous tech hub just south of Shanghai.

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TAGS: Asian Games, China

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