Asian Games host Hangzhou–replica Eiffel Tower and robot dogs | Inquirer Sports

Asian Games host Hangzhou–replica Eiffel Tower and robot dogs

/ 01:31 PM September 20, 2023

Asian Games Hangzhou

People gather at the promenade of Qiantang River to watch the light show of the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium (R), ahead of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang province on September 19, 2023. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

China’s eastern city of Hangzhou is set to host the largest Asian Games ever with nearly 12,000 athletes in action.

Ahead of Saturday’s opening ceremony, here’s what you need to know about Hangzhou and the Games venues:


Tech town

An ancient, scenic city at the southern end of the centuries-old Grand Canal, Hangzhou has in recent years become known as the birthplace of Jack Ma’s Alibaba and its hugely popular shopping app Taobao.


Numerous tech start-ups have set up shop in the city of 12 million people, drawing comparisons to Silicon Valley.

The Games will showcase some of China’s latest tech, including robot dogs, facial recognition and driverless buses.

An AI-powered digital assistant named Xiaomo, in the shape of an “elegant girl”, will provide sign-language interpretation.

Hangzhou is 160 kilometers (100 miles) — or an hour on a bullet train — from Shanghai.

Asian Games Hangzhou

Performers stand by before the torch relay of the 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou in China’s eastern Zhejiang province on September 20, 2023. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

‘Big Lotus’

The Games will take place at more than 50 venues, most of them in Hangzhou but a few in other cities.

The center piece is a massive flower-shaped stadium capable of hosting 60,000 spectators and will stage the opening and closing ceremonies.


Inspired by the lotuses that bloom on the city’s famed West Lake each summer, the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center was completed in 2018 and been used mainly as a football stadium since.

A lookalike venue nearby, dubbed the “Small Lotus,” houses the tennis finals while a butterfly-shaped structure combines the aquatics venue and indoor sports halls.

High-rise village

The vast Asian Games Village will be home to nearly 20,000 athletes, technical officials and journalists in a mini city within a city.

It is spread over 113 hectares (280 acres) and equipped with shops, gyms and a clinic, and is served by two newly opened metro stations.

Dominated by high-rise apartment blocks that will be turned over to residential use after the Games, the village includes a 4,000-person-capacity dining hall serving Chinese and international cuisine.

Replica Paris

The 13th-century traveler Marco Polo was smitten with Hangzhou, calling it the “most beautiful and elegant city in the world”.

In 2013 the city launched a “modern-day Marco Polo” competition to find a foreign traveler to tour the city and promote it online, with a 40,000-euro stipend to sweeten the deal.

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Aside from its temples and gardens, the city is also home to the Tianducheng housing estate modeled on Paris, complete with its own Eiffel Tower and Haussmann facades.

TAGS: Asian Games

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