Games Village opens doors to first group of athletes
Kazakh athletes arrive at the Asian Games Village, which officially opened on Saturday morning in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province. [Photo/VCG]
The 19th Asian Games Village officially opened on Saturday morning, welcoming the first batch of Chinese delegates to Hangzhou, the capital of East China's Zhejiang province.
Speaking before the opening ceremony, Ng Ser Miang, vice-president of the International Olympic Committee, said the slogan of the Hangzhou Games, "Heart to Heart, @Future", is a very appropriate one. He added that this is the place where at least 12,000 athletes from all over Asia will compete very seriously and keenly.
According to him, the upcoming Hangzhou Asian Games will further enhance global collaboration and cooperation. "This Games will provide a great opportunity, in this beautiful city of Hangzhou, for these athletes to share experiences, their culture and diversity, heart to heart and under the same roof," he added.
"We are standing here together in a truly magnificent Asian Games Village," said Vinod Kumar Tiwari, acting director general of the Olympic Council of Asia, at the opening ceremony. "I regard this Asian Games Village as Olympic-standard and even more so," he said.
Tiwari said he has been visiting Hangzhou for the past eight years, and has been impressed by the plans and preparations made for the 19th Asian Games, especially the Games Village.
Made up of the Athletes' Village, the Technical Officials' Village and the Media Village, the Asian Games Village will welcome and play host to more than 20,000 people, providing accommodation, catering, transportation, cultural, technological, medical and commercial services, among others, for them.
Such innovative concepts and arrangements have never before been seen in the history of the Asian Games or even the Olympic Games, Tiwari said.
"It highlights the unity and solidarity of the Olympic movement in Asia," he added.
China is sending 886 athletes to the Asian Games, which opens on Saturday. During the Games, the Chinese athletes, 437 women and 449 men, will compete in 407 events in 38 sports.
Chen Yufei, Olympic badminton champion, said she is looking forward to her stay in the Asian Games Village.
"Competing on home turf will be very exciting for me," said Chen, who is a Hangzhou native. "It will mean pressure, but it will also serve as motivation."
"My goal is to see the national flag raised and the national anthem played on the athletics field," said Zhu Yaming, men's Olympic triple jump medalist, who is aiming for a gold in the upcoming competition.
Apart from the Asian Games Village in Hangzhou, five sub-villages in the cities of Ningbo, Wenzhou, Jinhua, Tonglu county and Chun'an county also opened on the same day.
Over 12,000 athletes from 45 Asian countries and regions will participate in the 19th Asian Games, the largest ever in the event's history, in terms of the number of participants.
MA ZHENHUAN in Hangzhou