The vibrant city of Hangzhou, located in East China’s Zhejiang Province, is abuzz with excitement as it prepares to host the 19th edition of the Asian Games, slated to commence on September 23. As participants from across Asia converge upon this metropolis, the official setup of the Chinese delegation added further momentum to the fervor.
China’s formidable delegation comprises a staggering 886 athletes. Significantly, 36 of these stalwarts are Olympic champions, reflecting the strength and prowess of the nation’s sporting community. The team is a blend of experience and budding talent, with athletes’ ages ranging from a youthful 13 to a seasoned 60. It’s a testament to the fact that passion for sports knows no age. The youngest participant is skateboard enthusiast Cui Chenxi, while the eldest is the veteran bridge player, Dai Jianming.
The diversity of the Chinese delegation extends beyond age. Out of the total athletes, 437 are female and 449 are male, with an average age of 25. The delegation is a microcosm of China’s rich ethnic tapestry; it features 71 athletes from 19 distinct ethnic groups, including the Hui, Mongolian, Zhuang, Miao, Manchu, Uygur, and Tibetan communities.
China will be casting a wide net at the Asian Games, participating in a diverse array of 38 sports and 407 events, spanning from traditional sports to modern ones. The delegation will, however, not compete in kabaddi and cricket. Adding a contemporary twist to the Asian Games, Hangzhou will also introduce emerging sports like break dancing and e-sports, reflecting the evolving interests of the younger generation.
The 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou promises to be an immense gathering, with an estimated 12,417 athletes representing all 45 Asian nations and territories. China takes immense pride in hosting the event for the third time, having previously welcomed athletes for the Beijing Asian Games in 1990 and the Guangzhou Asian Games in 2010.
Historically, China has displayed immense prowess at the Asian Games. A testament to this is the 2010 Guangzhou Games, where China led the medal tally with an awe-inspiring 199 golds, totaling a massive 416 medals. This achievement was made possible by a delegation of 977 athletes – the largest in the history of the Asian Games.
Beijing-based sports journalist Xu Jie provided insights into China’s prospects at the Games. The nation’s women’s volleyball and basketball teams are strong contenders for titles. Furthermore, China’s consistent dominance in individual sports such as table tennis, diving, shooting, and weightlifting is expected to continue. “Our women’s soccer team also holds promising potential for a victory,” Xu remarked.
The overarching sentiment is clear; China aims to continue its impressive medal dominance at the Asian Games, having led the tables for ten consecutive events since 1982. Gao Zhidan, director of the General Administration of Sport of China, stated, “Our goal is to tap into our athletes’ true competitive spirit and aspire for top-notch achievements.”
Moreover, for many Chinese athletes, the Hangzhou Asian Games will also be a platform to hone their skills and gather invaluable experience, all with an eye on the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games.