Ï Athletes of Turkmenistan waiting for the start of the Asian Games in Hangzhou
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Athletes of Turkmenistan waiting for the start of the Asian Games in Hangzhou

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Athletes of Turkmenistan waiting for the start of the Asian Games in Hangzhou
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Alexander Vershinin

There are only a few hours left before the start of the Asian Games, and it is no exaggeration to say that at these moments the entire continent froze in anticipation of the start of a grand sporting event, which will be witnessed by billions of spectators in all corners of the world. And of course, China and Hangzhou, the capital of the XIX Summer Asian Games, are waiting for this event with special enthusiasm and excitement. Everything here is literally saturated with the atmosphere of the Asian Games, which was preceded by tremendous preparation. There are sports symbols everywhere, vivid images of the Games mascots – a group of robots proclaiming the host city’s profound heritage and contemporary vibrancy.

The three mascots are called Chenchen, Congcong and Lianlian. This trio of robots will act as the envoys of the Olympic spirit, peace and friendship. Together, they are calling out to Asia and the whole world, inviting everyone to meet in Hangzhou for the Asian Games.

The Chenchen robot represents the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, listed as a World Heritage site. It takes its name from the Gongchen Bridge, a landmark structure in the Hangzhou section of the Grand Canal. The bridge, with a history of over 400 years, bears wonderful memories for many generations.

Chenchen unites the Grand Canal, the Qiantang River and the world beyond the sea. It takes blue, the color of science and technology, as the main tone. It has the Qiantang River’s tide atop and the Gongchen Bridge on the forehead, only leaving endless room for imagination. 

Brave, intelligent, optimistic and enterprising Chenchen symbolizes the inclusiveness of our time and connects Asia with the world.

The Congcong robot represents the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City, which are also included in the World Heritage List. It gets its name from the Cong jade pendant, the quintessential relic unearthed from the Ruins. Exuding the eternal charm, this Cong jade pendant of exquisitely carved patterns is synonymous with Liangzhu culture.

Congcong is proof of 5,000 year Chinese civilization. It takes yellow, the color of earth and bumper harvest, as the main tone. As the quintessential symbol of the Liangzhu culture, the mythical beast facial patterns on its head speak for indomitable courage. Determined, sincere, kind-hearted, athletic and passionate, Congcong reflects an indomitable entreprising spirit and inspires people to persevere and persue better life.

The robot Lianlian represents West Lake, another World Heritage site. It derives its name from a lakeful of lush lotus leaves. The Chinese love lotus leaves because they are associated with purity, nobleness and peace.

Lianlian is graceful and light-gaited, as seen ambling amid the lake’s misty willows, exquisite bridges and lush lotus leaves. The robot Lianlian takes green, color of life and nature, as its main tone. Its lotus leaf-shaped headpiece is distinctively decorated with the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, a scenic view of the West Lake, and the icon of Internet.

Pure, kind, lively, cute, elegant and hospitable, Lianlian reflects a refined, graceful, harmonious and open-minded spirit and conveys the aspirations for building a community of shared future for mankind.

Delegations from all 45 participating countries have already arrived in China for the Games. Turkmen athletes, who will be represented in 3x3 basketball, boxing, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, jiu-jitsu, judo, kurash wrestling, karate, athletics, swimming, weightlifting and wushu, have been in Hangzhou for six days and have managed to fully acclimatize, which is very important given the average humidity here. Like their foreign colleagues, our athletes are training a lot. Every day they take special buses to the training bases, where, under the supervision of their coaches, they gain the necessary fitness.

Today at 3 a.m., the Turkmen delegation in Hangzhou was joined by a team of basketball players (3x3), who traveled a long way from Ashgabat through Dubai and Shanghai to get to the capital of Zhejiang Province in eastern China.

Meanwhile, some details of the opening ceremony were presented at the meeting of the heads of missions in the Athletes' Village, which will take place at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium on September 23. It will begin at 17:00 Ashgabat time and will last about two hours. The parade of athletes will start at 17:08.

The organizers have announced that the Asian Games participants, after entering the stadium through one of the two gates, will go straight to the stands, where 5,000 seats have been reserved. In addition, athletes will be able to leave the stadium after 21:00 and return to the Athletes' Village, as some of them may participate in competitions the next day.

The order of the NOC march was also confirmed: the delegation of Afghanistan will be the first to pass through the stadium, and Chinese athletes will be the last as hosts, following the athletes of Yemen.

The Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, nicknamed the "the Big Lotus", is located 4 km from the Athletes' Village.

It rained again this morning in the capital of the XIX Summer Asian Games. But forecasters promise that cloudy weather will be established by the beginning of the opening ceremony.

The task of Turkmen athletes at the Asian Games in Hangzhou is to raise the authority and prestige of domestic sports as high as possible, for which a lot is being done in the country, including under the personal patronage of President Serdar Berdimuhamedov and the National Leader of the Turkmen people Hero-Arkadag.

At the previous Asian Games in Indonesia five years ago, Turkmen athletes won one silver and two bronze medals. This time our athletes should perform much more successfully, the delegation of Turkmenistan believes.

– Of course, we are all worried, because we understand that the whole country is cheering for us," says judoka Maysa Pardayeva, who for the first time will carry the Flag of Turkmenistan together with swimmer Merdan Atayev at the opening ceremony of the Asian Games. – The sense of high responsibility to our fans, as well as the great attention of the President of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov and the Chairman of the Halk Maslahaty Hero-Arkadag to the issues of development of sports of the highest achievements give us additional strength and confidence in victory.

Today, at the solemn ceremony in Hangzhou, the fire of the XIX Summer Asian Games will flare up and the fight for medals in 40 sports, including 61 sports disciplines, will be launched.