Children sing the official song of the 19th Asian Games "The Love We Share" during the opening ceremony for the Hangzhou Asian Games Village in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, Sept. 16, 2023. (Xinhua/Du Yu)
With just one week remaining before the 19th Asian Games kicks off in Hangzhou, excitement is building across the continent for this premier sporting event.
According to the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC), all 45 Olympic committees from Asian countries and regions have registered to participate in the September 23-October 8 Games. Many are set to send their most substantial delegations in history.
China's sports delegation was the first to check in at Hangzhou's Asian Games Village when it officially opened on Saturday. Several Chinese athletes have voiced their aspirations of performing exceptionally on home ground.
The Chinese delegation arrives for the opening ceremony of the Hangzhou Asian Games Village in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, Sept. 16, 2023. (Xinhua/Xue Yuge)
"We will fight to be the champion, and hopefully we can win in all rowing events," Cui Xiaotong, a Chinese rowing athlete, shared.
Olympic badminton champion and Hangzhou native, Chen Yufei, aims to make her local supporters proud. "Challenges loom ahead, but, of course, I will go all out," said Chen. "Hopefully I can leave here without any regret."
Vinod Kumar Tiwari, acting director general of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), lauded the Village as "beautiful and outstanding" during its opening ceremony. "Now, just one week before the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games on September 23, I can see all your dreams have become reality - and we are standing here together in a truly magnificent Asian Games Village," he said.
Guests beat the gongs during the ceremony to annoucne the opening of the Hangzhou Asian Games Village in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, Sept. 16, 2023. (Xinhua/Du Yu)
He further emphasized that the Asian Games Village, accommodating athletes, officials, technical officials, and media, epitomizes the solidarity and unity of the Olympic movement in Asia. "We believe the quality of life in the Asian Games Village can lay the foundations for a smooth and successful Hangzhou Asian Games," said Tiwari.
Meanwhile, international athletes are intensifying their final preparations for the Games. "Even though we know very well that our mission of medaling in China will not be easy, we are really chasing the honor," Gaza-based beach volleyball athlete Abdullah Al-Arqan told Xinhua.
Lion dancers perform during the ceremony for the Hangzhou Asian Games Village in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province, Sept. 16, 2023. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)
Fatimatuz Zehra, a Pakistani taekwondo player, is also keen to shine. "The Asian Games is a very big event. It's a big opportunity for every athlete to participate there and get a medal."
Raja Sapta Oktohari, Chairman of Indonesia's Olympic Committee, views the Hangzhou Asian Games as an invaluable learning experience in sports infrastructure planning and construction. "We want to show more to the Indonesians the proper way of building infrastructure for sports, and I believe China has a very good example for all of that," said Oktohari. "So hopefully, after back from the Asian Games in Hangzhou, we can have more proper infrastructure for sports. We are looking forward to a great Games that will be hosted by Hangzhou."