After a year-long delay, Asia’s biggest sports festival has kicked off with a bang. The 19th edition of the Hangzhou Asian Games has finally kicked off after overcoming the aftermath of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The opening ceremony of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games took place at 9 p.m. ET on March 23 at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, capital of China’s Zhejiang Province. The Games will run for 16 days until the 8th of next month.
Initially, there were discussions about moving the opening ceremony indoors due to rain in Hangzhou. However, as the time for the opening ceremony 먹튀사이트 approached, the rain subsided, and the opening ceremony was held as scheduled at the Olympic Sports Center Stadium, which features a lotus flower, the symbol of Hangzhou.
The theme of the opening ceremony was “Love, Beauty, and Emotion. The ceremony lasted nearly 120 minutes and included the arrival of athletes from 45 countries and a performance showcasing Hangzhou’s Neolithic Liangzhu culture.
In keeping with the times, the organizers emphasized a low-carbon, eco-friendly event and eschewed the spectacular fireworks that have traditionally marked international sporting events. Instead, the spectators were treated to a series of eco-friendly yet highly technical performances.
As China hosted its third Asian Games, following Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010, the opening ceremony was filled with loud and colorful performances as a celebration of 4.6 billion Asians, unlike the Beijing 2022 Winter Games, which were held under lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chinese President Xi Jinping was in attendance along with First Lady Peng Liyuan and International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach. From South Korea, Prime Minister Han Deok-soo was in attendance, as well as a host of international dignitaries, including Cambodian King Norodom Sihamoni, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Nepalese Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.
All 45 member nations of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) will be represented at the Games. North Korea, which was banned from international competition after missing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, made its first appearance at an international sporting event since the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games.
The Games will feature a total of 40 sports and 61 events. South Korea will also be competing for medals in new sports, including breaking and esports. A total of 481 gold medals are up for grabs.
The Chinese flag was raised and the teams began their entrance. Each country entered in English alphabetical order, starting with Afghanistan (AFG). South Korea was the 16th country to enter. Fencer Koo Bon-gil and swimmer Kim Seo-young served as co-flag bearers.
Korea sent a total of 1,140 athletes to the Games, including 867 athletes, 223 officials and 50 headquarters staff, competing in 39 sports. This is the largest contingent ever for an Asian Games.
After a five-year hiatus, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) made its seventh appearance at the Asian Games. However, due to doping issues, the DPRK brought an artificial device that is not allowed to be used in international competitions other than the Olympics. It is likely to be controversial in the future.
After 44 countries entered, host China was the last to go. President Xi Jinping declared the Games open, and instead of colorful fireworks, digital fireworks lit up the sky above the stadium.
This was followed by a dazzling opening performance. It featured a variety of cutting-edge technologies, including three-dimensional dual-wire technology and augmented reality (AR).
The torch relay and lighting ceremony featured Chinese legends familiar to domestic sports fans. Starting with the first runner, Ye Xiwen (swimming), followed by Fan Zhenndong (table tennis), Xu Mengtao (skiing), Su Zhiyun (weightlifting), Li Lingwei (badminton), and finally Wang Xun (swimming), a swimming legend from Hangzhou. Wang Xun was accompanied by a giant digital torchbearer to light the flame, which will burn for seven days.
At the 2018 Jakarta-Palembang Games, South Korea finished in third place (49 gold, 58 silver, 70 bronze) behind China and Japan. Acknowledging the gap with Japan, which has made rapid progress with huge investments, Korea’s goal is to finish third again.
However, it aims to minimize the gap with Japan by winning a maximum of 50 gold medals. South Korea’s golden run begins on the 24th.
Gold medals are possible in fencing, modern pentathlon, and swimming. Jeon Woong-tae will compete in the modern pentathlon. The 2018 토토 Jakarta-Palembang gold medalist, who also won bronze at Tokyo 2020, will be looking to make it two in a row.
In swimming, Hwang Sun-woo will be in action. The men’s 100m freestyle will be contested from the heats to the final. Hwang will face his biggest rival, Pin Zhanle (CHN), in the preliminaries, and although his main event is the 200m freestyle, it will be interesting to see how many medals he can win.
Fencing has two gold medals in men’s foil and women’s epee. Keep an eye on Song Sera in particular. Song Sera is the Korean women’s epee phenom who won both the individual and team titles at last year’s World Championships. Injuries have slowed her down, but she will be aiming for gold in her first Asian Games.