The Hangzhou Asian Games serves as an example for future Asian Games in many different ways, said International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach.
Bach made the remarks during an exclusive interview with Xinhua, a day before the official opening of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.
Around 12,500 athletes from 45 countries and regions are participating in the Hangzhou Asian Games, a record in the history of the Asian Games.
“Firstly, it will be the biggest ever, with more than 12,000 athletes. Secondly, it will also set new standards regarding the sustainable organization of such grand Games, carbon emission, zero-waste policies and many other efforts,” said Bach.
“The event will also benefit from the enthusiasm of the Chinese people, who love sports. Athletes can be very, very happy to enjoy China as a major host country for major sporting events in such a short period of time.”
The Hangzhou Asian Games, which were postponed for a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marks the third time China has hosted the Asian Games, after Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010. It is also the biggest event international sporting event held in China since the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.
Bach recognized China’s importance and growing commitment to the Olympic movement.
“The truly exceptional Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics has taken the Winter Olympics to new heights in terms of participation and introduced more than 300 million Chinese people to winter sports,” he noted. “This is unique.”
Bach highly praised China’s contribution to the global Olympic movement.
“Cooperation with the Chinese Olympic Committee is going very well. And in many international federations, China is playing an increasingly larger and more important role,” he said.
“This is very much appreciated because we see a general shift in the world towards Asia in sport, but not just in sport. China is the leading nation, which is why we so appreciate our close partnership with China in the field of sports.”
The IOC chief also expressed his appreciation for the way the Hangzhou Asian Games welcomed new sports, as breakdancing is set to make its debut as an official sport at the upcoming Asian Games.