2022 Asian Games Postponed Indefinitely Amid Covid Surge

BEIJING- The Hangzhou Asian Games, which were scheduled to take place from September 10 to 25, were on Friday postponed indefinitely amid a recent surge in COVID-19 cases in China, a development that was on expected lines and evoked mixed reactions from Indian athletes.

The new dates will be announced in near future.

An air of uncertainty had been hovering over the 19th edition of the multi-sports Games ever since Shanghai came under a fresh wave of the pandemic, forcing a lockdown in the city.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Executive Board met in Tashkent on Friday to discuss the situation and felt postponing the Games was the best decision under the circumstances.

"Following detailed discussions with the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) and the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee (HAGOC), the OCA Executive Board (EB) today decided to postpone the 19th Asian Games, which were scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China, from 10 to 25 September 2022," the OCA said in a statement, posted on its website.

"The new dates of the 19th Asian Games will be agreed between the OCA, the COC and the HAGOC and announced in the near future," the statement added.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) said the postponement of the Games is "certainly a sort of a setback" for some athletes.

"The postponement of any big event or Games is a disappointment for the athletes. They become older by some months or one year whatever is the case when the Games are rescheduled," IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta told PTI.

"Many of our athletes had already started training and preparations for the Asian Games, and IOA feels for them. The postponement was on expected lines due to COVID-19 but this was not in our hands."

The OCA said the HAGOC was well prepared to deliver the Games on time despite global challenges. However, after carefully considering the pandemic situation and the magnitude of the Games, the decision was taken by all the stakeholders.

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.

About 11,000 athletes were to compete in 61 sporting disciplines in the Games.

The development comes at a time when China is battling a record number of daily cases in Shanghai, which is only a short train ride away from Games host city Hangzhou.

Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province, is some 175 kilometres southwest of Shanghai. As per the latest update, Zhejiang has recorded 3124 positive cases and one death.

Additionally, the 3rd Asian Youth Games, which was scheduled from December 20-28 in Shantou, China have also been cancelled.

The next Asian Youth Games will therefore be held in 2025 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

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