Today, the first group of Turkmen athletes arrived from Ashgabat via Urumqi for the XIX Summer Asian Games, which will be held from September 23 to October 8 in Hangzhou, China.
Held under the patronage of the Olympic Council of Asia once every four years, these complex competitions gather the best athletes of the continent and arouse great interest in the world. The first such Games were held in 1951 in New Delhi (India). Then only 489 athletes from 11 countries competed in six sports. The upcoming Asian Games in China will bring together thousands of athletes from 45 countries, who will compete for medals in 61 sports disciplines. Of these, 45 are Olympic and 16 are non–Olympic.
The decision to hold the Asian Games in Hangzhou was made on September 16, 2015 in Ashgabat during the 34th General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
Initially, the Games were planned to be held from September 10 to September 25, 2022, but due to the coronavirus pandemic, the OCA announced the postponement of the 2022 Asian Games to 2023. It is noteworthy that Hangzhou will become the third Chinese city to host the Asian Games after Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.
Turkmenistan, where the state pays great attention to the development of sports, is sending a representative delegation of 104 people, including 67 athletes to the Asian Games for the eighth time. Our athletes will compete in 11 sports: 3x3 basketball, boxing, wrestling (freestyle and Greco-Roman), jiu-jitsu, judo, kurash wrestling, karate-do, athletics, swimming, weightlifting and wushu.
The first group of Turkmen athletes, which included representatives of boxing, wushu and swimming, made a difficult journey to get to the capital of Zhejiang Province in eastern China, spending a total of 8 hours of flight in two planes.
It should be noted that Hangzhou Xiaoshan International Airport, which is located 27 kilometers from the city center, has been operating with an increased workload since September 16 than on normal days, providing services specifically for the staff of the Asian Games.
Dedicated channels and six integrated smart gates have been put into operation to ensure smooth passage of the Asian Games participants. Hangzhou Customs uses remote image analysis to carry out intelligent machine inspection of checked baggage, providing effective supervision and facilitating convenient customs clearance for participants of the Asian Games.
However, Hangzhou Customs has developed various security measures and contingency plans to ensure safe and unhindered customs clearance for Asian Games participants.
On September 17, simultaneously with the Turkmen athletes, sports delegations from India and Tajikistan arrived at Hangzhou International Airport. The latter, taking advantage of the opportunity, even made a joint photo with some of our athletes for memory.
Upon arrival in Hangzhou, the Turkmen athletes stayed in one of the hotels for a day. On September 18, the sports delegation of Turkmenistan is scheduled to settle in the Athletes' Village, where all participants of the Asian Games, without exception, will live and prepare for competitions.
For Turkmen athletes, the Asian Games in Hangzhou will be the eighth in their history. At the previous Asian Games, which were held in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, and Palembang from August 18 to September 2, 2018, representatives of Turkmenistan won one silver and two bronze medals. Silver was awarded to weightlifter Kristina Shermetova (weight category up to 53 kg), and bronze medals were awarded to jiu-jitsu fighter Kemal Meredov (up to 56 kg) in Ne-Waza competitions and Greco-Roman wrestler Shikhazberdi Ovelekov (up to 87 kg). Let's wish our athletes good luck in the sports arenas of China!