2022 Asian Games postponed due to COVID outbreak in China

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The 2022 Asian Games, which were due to take place in Hangzhou in September, have been postponed indefinitely due to the pandemic situation in China, organizers announced on Friday. The new dates will be announced later, the Olympic Council of Asia said in a statement posted on its website.

China is battling a resurgence in coronavirus cases, which would be its biggest Covid-19 outbreak since the early days of the pandemic.

“Following extensive discussions with the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) and the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC), the OCA Board of Directors (EB) decided today to postpone the 19th Asian Games, which were scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China from September 10-25, 2022. HAGOC was very well prepared to deliver the Games on time despite the global challenges.However, the decision above was taken by all stakeholders after carefully considering the pandemic situation and the size of the Games,” the statement said.

The postponement of the 19th Asian Games will affect the Paris 2024 Olympic cycle, which has already been shortened due to the pandemic-forced postponement of the Tokyo Olympics from 2020 to 2021.

The Asiad is an Olympic qualifier in sports like hockey, where the winner gains direct entry to the Games. The new dates are likely to be a challenge as the 2023 sports calendar is also jam-packed with Olympic qualifiers for all sports with the Paris Games the following year.

Reacting to the development, Indian men’s hockey team goalkeeper PR Sreejesh said he was not surprised by the announcement.

“Yes, it’s a disappointment but somewhere down the line we expected that given the situation in China,” he said. PTI.

“But we want to see (the postponement) from a positive point of view because the postponement means that we will have more time to prepare for the Asian Games. We already have experience of playing in postponed Games (Tokyo Olympics ), so we know what it takes to stay in shape.

“The positive part is that there are a lot of tournaments ahead of us like the Asian Cup, Pro League away games, Commonwealth Games and World Cup next year. The dates postponed Asian Games have not yet been announced, so we will have enough time to prepare as well as possible for the Asian Games,” Sreejesh said.

The postponement also opened the doors for members of the senior men’s and women’s teams to compete at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, where India had previously decided to send its reserve hockey teams due to the short lead time between the two events.

A Hockey India official said now that the Asian Games have been postponed, the main squad players can be considered for the Birmingham CWG as the squads have yet to be announced.

“We still don’t know what will happen as the postponement came as a shock to us. Earlier we decided to send separate teams for CWG and Asiad due to only 32 days delay between the two events and we wanted our core team to peak at the Asian Games, which are qualifiers for the Paris Olympics,” the manager said. PTI.

“But now that the Asian Games are postponed, we can include players from the senior teams in the CWG. It’s too early to say anything as we will have to look at the new dates for the Asian Games and then adjust our schedule accordingly. “

Meanwhile, Indian track and field athletes and national federation officials reacted with a sense of relief after hearing the news of the postponement.

“It’s good. How many times an athlete can peak in a year? There’s the CWG, the World Championships, then the Asian Games and the athletes have to produce peak performances. It’s hard for them “, said the president of the Indian Athletics Federation, Adille Sumariwalla. PTI.

India’s athletics head coach Radhakrishnan Nair said the athletes were ready for the Asian Games in Hangzhou but the postponement is expected to reduce their workload this season.

“This is the toughest year of my coaching career with three big events pending. We had made plans in a very different way this year. We had athletes (like Jinson Johnson) who were only competing ‘at the Asian Games and we had others like Neeraj Chopra and Avinash Sable who will be competing in the CWG, World Championships and Asian Games, so we were prepared for the Asian Games. But, now that the Asian Games are postponed, our athletes can focus on the CWG and the world championships,” Nair said. .

National long jump record holder M Sreeshankar also felt that postponing the Asian Games would reduce his workload.

“It will reduce the workload. It is difficult to reach new heights again and again in a short time. Now I can focus on the CWG and the World Championships.”

Jinson Johnson, who won gold in the 1500m at the 2018 Asian Games, has a different view. “I’m a bit disappointed. I didn’t compete for two years after the last Asian Games. I came back this year and won a medal at the Federation Cup (in March). So I was looking towards the future and I was preparing for the Asian Games. . I don’t know when the Asian Games in Hangzhou will be held. You don’t know what will happen in the future.”

Indian esports athletes who have qualified for the Asian Games have also reacted to the news, saying they are disappointed with the postponement but it gives them more time to prepare for the event.

“We athletes are all disgusted by the news of the postponement of the Asian Games, but we will continue to give our all in training before the tournament. The postponement gives us more time to train and improve for the Asian Games. “, said FIFA22 athlete Charanjot Singh.

Akshaj Shenoy, captain of the Indian League of Legends team, said: “I wish China a speedy recovery and hope that the situation does not get worse for them. It saddens me deeply to know that the Games Asians have been postponed, aside, we can use the extra months of training and come back stronger and give them a more powerful battle.”

The host city of Hangzhou is near the country’s largest city, Shanghai, which was locked down for a week as part of the country’s response to the resurgence of cases. Additionally, the OCA EC has also canceled the 3rd Asian Youth Games, which were scheduled for December 20-28 this year in Shantou, China.


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