HANGZHOU: With the flickering flame, the Games ensue. Following years of meticulous preparation and months of mounting anticipation, Hangzhou’s long-awaited moment in the sun has finally dawned.
Nestled in the eastern realms of China’s Zhejiang Province, the city stands at the precipice of a momentous occasion as it prepares to unveil the largest edition of the Asian Games this Saturday.
This extraordinary assembly will play host to a staggering 12,500 athletes hailing from 45 diverse countries and regions. Their collective ambition will be channeled through 40 distinct sports, comprising 61 disciplines and 481 events, all in pursuit of the coveted glory that awaits them.
A general view of Shaoxing China Textile City Sports Center, one of the main stadiums of the 19th Asian Games in Shaoxing, Zhejiang Province, China, September 18, 2023. /CFP
“All 54 competition venues and 30 training venues for the Asian Games have passed the event functionality inspection,” said Chen Weiqiang, who was unveiled as the spokesperson of the 2023 Asian Games organizing committee, at a press briefing on Wednesday.
“All the competition equipment, support facilities, and operational teams are also fully prepared,” he added.
According to the organizers, to provide the utmost convenience for spectators attending the Games, Hangzhou’s public transportation has taken measures to enhance its services. Specifically, they have added 86 trips on key bus routes and extended the operating hours of 50 subway connections and commuter routes during the course of the event.
Volunteers and mascots pose inside the Main Media Center for the Hangzhou Asian Games in Zhejiang Province, China, September 18, 2023. /CFP
Throughout the event, the Games Village will host a series of cultural exhibitions and performances to foster interaction and camaraderie among athletes from different nations. These captivating showcases will include cultural bazaars, artistic performances that embody the essence of Hangzhou, and a magnificent celebration to mark the 110th anniversary of the Asian Games.
Chen noted that the upcoming Games will wholeheartedly embrace the concept of sustainability and environmental consciousness. When the main torch is lit during the opening ceremony on Saturday, it will be fueled by low-carbon energy.
Furthermore, the commitment to green practices and eco-friendliness is evident in the construction and maintenance of all the venues, with initiatives such as rainwater harvesting and the implementation of energy-saving technologies.