Hangzhou Asian Games closes as 'unprecedented success'
Xinhua/chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-10-09Print Print
Artists perform during the closing ceremony of the 19th Asian Games at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, on Sunday. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao/China Daily]
HANGZHOU -- The 19th Asian Games closed here on Sunday under the theme of "Enduring Memories of Hangzhou" for the closing ceremony, highlighting the power and unity of sports and the Asian Games.
Over the past 16 days, around 12,000 athletes from 45 countries and regions shared unforgettable moments in Hangzhou, marking the third time that China has hosted the continental multi-sports event, following Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.
With breakdancing and esports making their debuts as official medal sports, the Hangzhou Asian Games featured 40 sports, 61 disciplines and 481 events. China clinched 201 golds, 111 silvers and 71 bronzes, finishing atop the medal tally for the 11th consecutive edition since 1982 and bettering its previous record of 199 golds at Guangzhou 2010.
Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) acting president Raja Randhir Singh attended the closing ceremony at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium.
Singh declared the Games closed, praising the organizers as "the perfect host that the OCA will never forget."
"The power of sport, the power of the Asian Games is to unite us all in life. I would like to thank the Chinese government, the Chinese Olympic Committee, the people of Hangzhou and the Hangzhou organizing committee (HAGOC) for what you have done and ensured that the Hangzhou Asian Games were an unprecedented success," said the OCA acting president.
"The Qiantang River continually flows into the sea, and the light of Asia will continue to shine brightly in the future. The Asian Games flame is about to be extinguished, but its spirit will live on," said Gao Zhidan, organizing committee president.
"On this continent where countries share mountains, rivers and close cultural bonds, let's promote peace, solidarity and inclusiveness through sports, uphold the Asian Games spirit, and work together to create a better future. Together, we will write a new chapter of an Asian community with a shared future," added Gao, also president of the Chinese Olympic Committee.
Enhanced with AR visual effects, the stadium, also known as the "Big Lotus", turned into a blooming garden with 19 giant osmanthus flowers during the parade of athletes, symbolizing the diversity of Asian cultures and the prosperity of Asia.
Xie Zhenye, who achieved a golden double in the men's 100m and 4x100m relay in Hangzhou, served as Chinese delegation's flagbearer at the closing ceremony.
Transforming from spectators to participants, athletes marched into the stadium as part of the performance, along with elements of musical theater and art installations in the Asian Garden.
The flag handover ceremony takes place at the closing ceremony of the 19th Asian Games at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang province, on Sunday. [Photo by Wei Xiaohao/China Daily]
With the OCA flag lowered and the OCA anthem played, Hangzhou mayor Yao Gaoyuan handed the flag to Singh, who entrusted the flag to Hideaki Omura, governor of Aichi prefecture and Hideo Nakata, deputy mayor of Nagoya, the host city of the 2026 Asian Games.
Echoing with the opening ceremony where a digital torchbearer lit the cauldron together with swimming Olympic champion Wang Shun, the digital torchbearer returned for the closing ceremony.
Following the extinguishing of the cauldron, the digital torchbearer stepped out and transformed into starlight filling up the night sky, passing on the flame of sports and the spirit of the Asian Games.
Behind China, Japan finished in second place with 52 gold, 67 silver and 69 bronze medals, followed by South Korea on 42-59-89. 27 countries and regions won gold medals, while 41 delegations pocketed at least one medal.
China's swimmers Zhang Yufei and Qin Haiyang were jointly awarded Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the Asian Games on Saturday.
Olympic champion Zhang, 25, clinched six titles in her signature events, while 24-year-old world champion Qin pocketed five golds and a silver on his second Asiad appearance.
Their compatriots Li Bingjie, Xu Jiayu and Wang Shun also made a splash in the pool with a haul of multiple gold medals, while Oluwakemi Mujidat Adekoya of Bahrain and China's Wang Chuqin clinched four golds in athletics and table tennis respectively.
The Hangzhou Asiad also produced world-leading performances with a total of 13 world records having been broken.