The XIX Summer Asian Games opened in Hangzhou today, which will be followed for two weeks in many countries of the world, including Turkmenistan, which has delegated its team to this largest sporting event of the quadrennium.
The decision to hold the current Asian Games was made on September 16, 2015 in Ashgabat during the 34th General Assembly of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). Thus, Hangzhou became the third city in China after Beijing (1990) and Guangzhou (2010) to host the Asian Games. Recall that the XIX Asian Games were originally planned to be held from September 10 to 25, 2022, but the Executive Committee of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) decided to postpone them due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Three robots were chosen as mascots of the XIX Summer Asian Games: Chenchen, CongCong and Lianlian. All of them are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Competitions will be held in 40 sports in 61 disciplines until October 8, in which 11934 athletes from 45 countries will compete for 481 sets of medals. In addition, 74 tickets to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris will be awarded in 9 sports, including archery and tennis. Turkmen athletes, as it is known, will compete in 3x3 basketball, boxing, freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling, jiu-jitsu, judo, kurash wrestling, karate, athletics, swimming, weightlifting and wushu.
The opening ceremony of the XIX Summer Asian Games was held at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, called the "The Big Lotus" and accommodating 80 thousand spectators.
Official delegations marched through the arena of the stadium in alphabetical order. The parade was opened by the delegation of Afghanistan. Together with this delegation, all the teams of 45 participating countries of the Asian Games pass under endless ovations. Among them is the national team of Turkmenistan. The column of Turkmen athletes is headed by flag bearers – Merdan Atayev, swimmer, record holder of Turkmenistan in 50, 100 and 200 meters backstroke in "long and short course", finalist of the 2014 Asian Games in the 100-meter race in Incheon and Maysa Pardayeva, judoka, two-time winner of the Junior Asian Cup in Almaty and Tashkent, silver medalist of the Junior European Cup-2023 in Sarajevo and the bronze medalist of the Kuwait City Asian Open. For the eighth time, Turkmen athletes participate as an independent team at the large-scale Games of the continent. This became possible only after Turkmenistan gained independence.
At the end of the march-parade, which turned into a true march of peace and friendship, all sports delegations settled down in the stands of the stadium.
The Flag of the Olympic Council of Asia, under the patronage of which the Asian Games are held, is brought to the sports arena. After the traditional circle of honor, a huge banner is hoisted on the high flagpole to the sounds of the anthem. An oath is pronounced on behalf of the athletes and referees participating in the Asian Games.
During the ceremony, welcoming speeches to the audience were addressed by Yao Gaoyuan, Mayor of Hangzhou, Secretary General of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee and Raja Randhir Singh, Acting President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), who appreciated the efforts of the Organizing Committee of the Asian Games in preparing for this sports holiday.
"You have done a fantastic job in preparing for the Asian Games. The one year postponement due to the pandemic was unprecedented in the history of the OCA, but your diligence and determination will bear fruit over the next 16 days, and you will be rewarded with the most magnificent and successful Asian Games ever" said R. R. Singh.
The opening ceremony was also attended by Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), as well as heads of state and government of many countries.
Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President of China, announces the XIX Summer Asian Games open.
The apogee of the opening ceremony of the Asian Games was the unprecedented digital lighting of the bowl with fire, when millions of torchbearers turned the digital flame into a digital human figure on the Qiantangjiang River, which lit the bowl with fire together with the first Asian swimmer in history, who won Olympic gold in Tokyo in 200 meters individual medley Wang Shun, the last of the six athletes to relay the real flame to the stadium.
Another highlight of the opening ceremony was the sensational smokeless fireworks display. Traditional fireworks were abandoned for the sake of environmental protection.
The show included innovative technologies, including 3D animation, which created an amazing spectacle with the help of electronic fireworks. This innovative approach not only provides a stunning visual experiences, but also contributes to environmental sustainability by presenting a green and dazzling celebration for everyone.
"The rejection of fireworks is due to our desire to reduce carbon dioxide emissions," said Sha Xiaolan, the Chief Director of the opening ceremony of the XIX Summer Asian Games. "The most important thing for us is to spread the philosophy of environmental protection."
Convincingly demonstrating China's resolute adherence to green and low-carbon policy, the Hangzhou Asian Games, for the first time in the history of the Asian Games, will achieve the goal of fully using environmentally friendly electricity as a regular power source for all competition venues.
The host city has concluded 16 deals for 621 million kWh of green energy, which is equivalent to saving 76 thousand tons of standard coal. Thus, all 65 competition facilities and offices of the Asian Games in Hangzhou will run on environmentally friendly electricity.
The final chord of the colorful opening ceremony was the official anthem of the competition. It became a song whose title translates as "The love we share".
So, the magnificent performance, which lasted just over two hours, came to an end. But there are 16 days of hard competition ahead. These days, millions of Turkmen citizens will be cheering for their compatriots. We wish our athletes great luck in the sports arenas of Hangzhou!