Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games kick off one-year countdown

Photo taken on Sept. 5, 2021 shows a bird’s eye view of the indoor stadium and natatorium of the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang province. (Photo by Long Wei/People’s Daily Online)
Photo taken on Sept. 5, 2021 shows a bird’s eye view of the indoor stadium and natatorium of the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang province. (Photo by Long Wei/People’s Daily Online)

By Li Zhongwen, Dou Hanyang

Preparations for the 19th Asian Games, scheduled to kick off on Sept. 10, 2022 in Hangzhou, capital of east China’s Zhejiang province, entered a crucial stage as a one-year countdown to the event started.

Countdown clocks for the event have been installed in many landmarks in Hangzhou, including the Liangzhu ancient city ruins park, the Gongchen Bridge, the Hangzhou City Balcony, and the Hangzhoudong Railway Station.

The construction of all the competition venues is expected to be completed by the end of this October.

Nine test events for the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games are slated to take place in the second half of this year, while the rest of the test events will be held in the first six months of 2022.

Organizers of Hangzhou 2022 have tailored a specific operation plan for each of the venues that features tiered, multi-level, and category-specific organizational structure and allocation and management of personnel and financial and material resources. These test events will find out how well these operation plans work and help perfect them, thus laying a solid foundation for making the Asian Games a success.

While the grand event will be hosted by Hangzhou and co-hosted by five other cities in Zhejiang province, including Ningbo, Jinhua, Wenzhou, Shaoxing, and Huzhou, major and relevant stadiums and facilities, as well as other available resources across the province are expected to be fully mobilized for the 19th Asian Games. Frugality is very much worshiped by the organizers of the event who prefer upgrading to building of facilities, and repairing to replacement.

“The 12 newly built venues only account for nearly 20 percent of the total, and all the rest are upgraded or for temporary use,” said Chen Weiqiang, deputy secretary-general of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC) and vice mayor of Hangzhou.

Guided by the principle of preferring to borrow rather than rent, and rent rather than buy new facilities unless necessary, the Hangzhou 2022 has advanced market development according to actual needs with an aim to avoid overlapping investment and excessive allocation, and formulated a general budget and annual budgets for the event to keep cost down.

Organizers of the Hangzhou 2022 have made detailed post-games planning for the comprehensive utilization of the venues and facilities, insisting that relevant venues and facilities be built in places that enable them to best benefit the development of industries and cities, and serve the needs of citizens.

So far, 85 percent of the venues for the Asian Games have selected their post-games operators. They will introduce professional sports events, carry out public fitness activities and explore a more diverse way of utilization after the conclusion of the Asian Games.

The tennis center of the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center, the main venue of Hangzhou 2022, is equipped with a lot of high-tech devices and systems. “A monitoring system helps with the energy-saving control of facilities including boiler pump, illumination device, and air conditioner. Systems like the smart lighting system can be controlled through tablet computers, which are both smart and energy-saving,” said the project manager of the tennis center.

Construction of 17 systems of the tennis center has been completed, including a smart building system, an information system, and a dedicated system for games, according to the manager.

The Grand Canal Asian Games Park, located 20 kilometers away from the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center, will host ping-pong, hockey, and break dancing competitions of the Hangzhou 2022. Covering an area of more than 700 mu (about 46.67 hectares), the park was designed as a residential district before, and serves as a Grand Canal-themed park and a sports training center today.

“The place used to be a shanty town waiting to be upgraded. Because of the criss-cross rivers and lush trees there, it was eventually changed into a park with venues for the Asian Games, which explains how the preparation work of the event is integrated into urban planning,” said an executive of the venue construction department of the HAGOC.

Besides the concepts of green construction and game-city integration, the 19th Asian Games will also feature Chinese characteristics and the charm of Zhejiang province and Hangzhou city in various aspects, such as visual images, design and arrangements of venues, and cultural activities, Chen said.

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