Asian Games 2022 in China postponed amid COVID resurgence
Asian Games 2022: The Asian Games scheduled to take place in Hangzhou in September 2022, have been postponed indefinitely, organizers announced on Friday.
On Friday, the OCA executive board in Tashkent made the decision to postpone the Games.
Randhir Singh, the acting President of the Olympics Council of Asia (OCA) announced the information to the media (Reuters) on May 6.
The 19th edition of the multi-sports Games, which are only second in size to the Summer Olympics, was set to take place in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province’s capital, around 175 kilometers southwest of Shanghai, from September 10 to 25, 2022.
Reason for postponing the Asian Game of 2022
No reason provided for the delay but China is racing to annihilate the largest outbreak of Covid- 19 since the initial days of the pandemic.
A statement on the official Games website, first posted on Chinese state media, said, “The Olympic Council of Asia announces that the 19th Asian Games, originally scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China from September 10 to 25, 2022, will be postponed.”
It further said, “The new dates for the sporting contest will be announced at a later date.”
The host city of Hangzhou lies less than 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the country’s biggest city, Shanghai, which has undergone a weeks-long lockdown as part of the ruling Communist Party’s zero-tolerance approach to the virus.
With Shanghai just being closed down due to a COVID-19 outbreak, questions have been raised about the event going to take place.
A Reuters request for comment was not immediately returned by the local organising body.
Organizers stated in the previous month that Hangzhou, a city of 12 million in eastern China, had wrapped up constructing some 56 competition venues for the Asian Games and Asian Para Games.
At the time, Asian game organizers indicated that they planned to hold the events under a virus control plan that “learns from the successful experience” of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which were held in February in a strict Covid-secure bubble.
Since the commencement of the COVID-19 pandemic, most international athletic events in China have been postponed or canceled, with the notable exception of the Winter Olympics, which took place in Beijing in February under severe health controls.
Hangzhou was poised to become the third city in China to host the continental game event after Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.
China sticks to a ‘Zero-Covid policy’
China has steadfastly adhered to a “zero-Covid policy,” which entails stringent lockdowns, quarantines, and mass testing procedures even as other countries begin to reopen as the pandemic threat fades.
The plan has been hailed by the administration as proof that it prioritises human life over material interests and can prevent the public health catastrophes that have plagued many Western countries.
Despite a mounting public outcry, top authorities pledged again on Thursday to “unwaveringly adhere to” zero-Covid and “resolutely fight against” criticism of the policy.
Anger is especially high in Shanghai, where 25 million people have been subjected to a patchwork of lockdowns since March, citing overzealous lockdowns and spartan quarantine conditions.