With a spectacular 75-minute extravaganza that seamlessly melded technology, theater, acrobatics, and glimpses of Chinese cultural magnificence, Hangzhou bid farewell to the Asian Games on a Sunday evening, drawing curtains on two weeks of astonishing athletic feats that left the global sporting community in awe.
This showcase event, boasting an astonishing array of 40 sports, 61 disciplines, and 481 events, transcended all previous editions in both scale and grandeur. The gathering of over 12,000 athletes hailing from 45 countries and regions etched an indelible mark in the annals of sports history. It shattered a remarkable 97 tournament records, 26 Asian records, and 13 world records.
Unsurprisingly, the hosts, China, emerged as the ultimate powerhouse with a staggering 201 gold medals, accompanied by 111 silvers and 71 bronzes. This exceptional accomplishment not only secured their position at the top of the medal tally for the 11th consecutive edition since 1982 but also surpassed their previous record of 199 golds, set during the Guangzhou Games in 2010.
Team China showcased their absolute dominance in disciplines where they hold a distinct advantage. The Chinese diving team, affectionately known as the “Dream Team,” swept all 10 gold medals across all diving events, continuing their incredible streak of never relinquishing a gold medal since their debut in the Asian Games. Their mastery of the sport was nothing short of awe-inspiring.
The Chinese swimming team also lived up to the lofty expectations, clinching 28 gold, 21 silver, and nine bronze medals to secure their position at the pinnacle of the swimming medal tally. Their prowess extended beyond victory; they rewrote history, breaking Asian Games records 22 times. Athletes like Zhang Yufei and Qin Haiyang exhibited formidable competitiveness in their respective events, leaving spectators in sheer admiration of their skills and dedication.
In the realm of athletics, Team China shone brightly, amassing 19 gold, 11 silver, and nine bronze medals. Their performance solidified their status as the reigning champions in the athletics medal tally for the 10th consecutive Asian Games since the 1986 Seoul Games. The dedication and hard work of Chinese athletes in this discipline were evident, and their achievements added luster to their nation’s sporting legacy.
One particular highlight was He Jie’s historic victory in the marathon event. He made a monumental breakthrough by capturing China’s first-ever gold medal in the men’s marathon in the history of the Asian Games, completing the race in a remarkable time of 2 hours, 13 minutes, and 2 seconds. His achievement will be remembered as a defining moment in Chinese sports history.
Meanwhile, the Chinese shooting team demonstrated their unparalleled excellence, securing 16 out of the 33 gold medals up for grabs in all shooting events at this year’s tournament. With a haul of 16 gold, nine silver, and four bronze medals, they firmly entrenched themselves at the top of both the shooting medal tally and the overall medal tally. Their dominance wasn’t limited to medals; they also shattered three world records, leaving no doubt about their supremacy.
One standout performer was the sensational 19-year-old Sheng Lihao, who stunned everyone by claiming the gold medal in the men’s 10-meter air rifle individual event with a phenomenal score of 253.3. This achievement not only earned him the gold but also established new world, Asian, and tournament records, showcasing his remarkable talent and potential for future greatness.
In the highly anticipated sports of football, basketball, and volleyball, Chinese athletes left an indelible mark with two gold, one silver, and two bronze medals. The Chinese women’s basketball team ascended to the highest podium for the seventh time in Asian Games history, while the women’s volleyball team captured their ninth title. The Chinese women’s football team and the men’s basketball team both clinched bronze medals, further highlighting China’s prowess in these popular team sports.
Additionally, after a 17-year hiatus, the Chinese men’s volleyball team made a triumphant return to the finals, earning a well-deserved silver medal. The Chinese men’s football team also made significant progress, reaching the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2006 Doha Asian Games, signifying a resurgence in Chinese men’s football.
Not to be outdone, the Chinese women’s field hockey team recaptured the Asian Games title after a 13-year gap. Their victory was a testament to their hard work and determination, and it marked a glorious return to the pinnacle of Asian women’s field hockey.
Zhang Zhizhen etched his name in history as the first male tennis singles winner at the Asian Games from the Chinese mainland in 29 years. His achievement was celebrated not only for its significance but also for the skill and tenacity he displayed on the tennis court.
In the emerging sports category, China’s Liu Qingyi stole the limelight by winning the first-ever women’s breakdancing gold medal in Asian Games history. As breakdancing secured its place in the upcoming Paris Olympics, Liu’s performance in Hangzhou not only showcased her exceptional talent but also highlighted her immense potential to leave a lasting impression on the global stage.
“Chinese athletes greatly cherish the opportunity to compete on their home turf, passionately upholding the Olympic spirit and the essence of Chinese sports,” observed Zhou Jinqiang, deputy chief of the Chinese delegation.
“Within the arena, they show utmost respect for the rules, referees, and their opponents, relentlessly pursuing greatness and pushing their own boundaries. Beyond the confines of the competition, they warmly engage in friendly exchanges and enthusiastic interactions with athletes from diverse nations and regions who have gathered in Hangzhou.
“They wholeheartedly embrace their role as hosts, actively contributing to the success of the Hangzhou Asian Games.” Zhou’s words encapsulated the spirit of unity, sportsmanship, and excellence that defined the Hangzhou Asian Games, leaving a legacy that will inspire generations of athletes and fans alike.