China's 2022 Asian Games: Unity, spirit and technology
This year's Asiad games will see China incorporating elements of artificial intelligence and environmental technology through the event.
The 19th edition of the Asian Games, also referred to as Asiad, is set to commence from September 23 to October 8 in Hangzhou, People's Republic of China. The event will bring together 12,200 athletes representing 45 Asian nations.
The grand opening ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, affectionately known as the Big Lotus. Originally built as a football stadium in 2018, it boasts an impressive seating capacity, accommodating up to 80,000 spectators.
China will introduce a unique touch at this year's event, incorporating elements of artificial intelligence and environmental technology. This showcase highlights Beijing's remarkable progress in these domains and its commitment to integrating them into daily life in ways that benefit individuals and communities.
Asiad, held once every four years, features a wide array of sports, encompassing 40 sports, and 61 disciplines, all while offering a total of 483 gold medals. It ranks as the second-largest multi-sport event globally, following the Olympic Games, and enjoys recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
History and unity
The inception of the Asian Games traces back to discussions between China and the Philippines in 1948, during the London Olympics.
Reviving the concept of the Far Eastern Games was at the core of this discussion, with India later officially proposing the concept. India believed that the Far Eastern Games would exemplify the spirit of unity and the remarkable progress occurring in Asian sports.
Building on this vision, a preparatory committee was established to draft the constitution for this novel organization.
On February 13, 1949, the Asian Athletic Federation was formally inaugurated in New Delhi. Simultaneously, New Delhi was announced as the host city for the first-ever event, which took place in 1951.
The Games also act as a significant diplomatic event, and served throughout the years as a major platform for bringing Asian countries together through sports and celebrations, regardless of political disputes. Evidently, despite traditional tensions between Beijing and New Delhi, the 2023 games will host the largest-ever Indian delegation.
Taiwan will also participate in the major event, further highlighting Asiad's commitment to promote inclusivity. What's more interesting is that the DPRK is scheduled to face Taiwan in men's football on the first day.
The DPRK has 191 athletes signed up for the Asian Games, marking the country's willingness to end its more than three-year isolation from the global sporting arena.
Motto and Mascots
The Asian Games motto is "Ever Onward" which was designed and proposed by India's Guru Dutt Sondhi after the establishment of the Asian Games Federation. It is symbolized by a bright sun in red with 16 rays and a white circle in the middle of its disc, which represents the ever-shinning and warm spirit of the Asian nations.
Having a mascot for multi-nation events like the Asian Games is a well-established tradition. However, this time, China has broken from the norm by introducing three mascots for the Games.
These mascots, named Chenchen, Congcong, and Lianlian, are robotic representations of Hangzhou's cultural heritage. According to the official website, these three mascots collectively go by the name 'Memories of Jiangnan,' which is inspired by a poem written by Bai Juyi.
Chenchen symbolizes the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, a World Heritage site, named after the Gongchen Bridge in Hangzhou. Chenchen connects the Grand Canal, the Qiantang River, and the wider world, represented by the color blue, signifying science and technology.
Meanwhile, Congcong, another mascot, represents the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City, also a World Heritage site, taking its name from the Cong jade pendant. It embodies China's 5,000-year-old civilization, with the color yellow symbolizing a bountiful harvest. The mythical beast facial pattern on Congcong's head represents unwavering courage and self-improvement.
Lastly, Lianlian, the third mascot, represents the West Lake, another World Heritage site, named after the lush and abundant lotus leaves. In Chinese culture, lotus leaves are associated with purity, nobility, and peace. The green color of Lianlian signifies life, and the lotus leaf on its head alludes to the Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, a famous feature of the West Lake.