China to host Asian Games in 2023 after Covid postponement

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Gymnasium at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center, site of the 19th Asian Games, in Hangzhou, eastern China’s Zhejiang province. RST / AFP

China will host the 2022 Asian Games in 2023, organizers announced on Tuesday, after postponing the event in Hangzhou due to Covid-19.

The Games will now be held in Hangzhou from September 23 to October 8, 2023, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has announced.

The event was originally scheduled to be held in September this year, but organizers postponed it to May as China tried to stamp out a large resurgence of Covid in several parts of the country.

Hangzhou is less than 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the country’s largest city, Shanghai, which suffered a months-long lockdown earlier this year as part of the ruling Communist Party’s zero-tolerance approach to to the virus.

The OCA said on Tuesday that the new dates were chosen to avoid “conflicts with other major international sporting events.”

The Asian Games typically attract over 10,000 athletes from across the region.

China is the latest major economy committed to stamping out the national spread of the virus through harsh lockdowns, mass testing and strict controls on international travel.

But it has hurt the country’s international sporting ambitions, with the world’s most populous nation canceling or postponing nearly every event since the start of the pandemic, except for this year’s Winter Olympics in Beijing.

The World University Games, which were to start in June in Chengdu and already postponed from last year, have also been postponed again, until 2023.

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