Following the postponement, by almost a year, of the Tokyo Olympic Games, another international sporting event, the Asian Games, has now been put off because of Covid.
The Asian Games, which were to be held from September 10 to 25 in Hangzhou, have been postponed due to the pandemic, China’s state media reported on Friday (May 6). No alternative date has been announced so far.
The decision comes at a time when China, where the virus emerged in late 2019, is experiencing its biggest Covid-19 outbreak. The country is battling a record number of daily cases in Shanghai, which has been under lockdown for more than a month. Shanghai is just a short train ride away from Hangzhou, where mass Covid-19 testing began last week to keep a check on rising omicron cases.
In the last few days, China’s capital Beijing, too, began tightening its Covid curb.
The OCA (Olympic Council of Asia) said in a statement after its executive board meeting in Tashkent that the Hangzhou organising committee (HAGOC) had been well prepared to deliver the Games despite the “global challenges”.
“However, the… decision was taken by all the stakeholders after carefully considering the pandemic situation and the size of the
Games,” it added. The new dates for the Games would be announced “in the near future”.
“The name and the emblem of the 19th Asian Games will remain unchanged, and the OCA believes that the Games will achieve complete success through the joint efforts of all parties.”
Organisers had said in early April that all 56 competition venues for the Games had been completed as the city prepared to host more than 11,000 athletes from 44 nations and territories.