Mumbai: The Asian Games 2022, which were due to take place in China’s Hangzhou in September, have been postponed indefinitely, organisers said. This comes as China is battling a new wave of COVID-19 driven by the Omicron variant.
No revised date has been specified for the tournament yet. Chinese state media confirmed the postponement of the Games at a meeting of the Asia Olympic Council. While it is understandable that the postponement came amid rising Covid-19 fears in the country, no official reason was given for the delay.
“The Olympic Council of Asia has announced that the 19th Asian Games, originally scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 10 to 25, 2022, will be postponed,” a statement on the official Games website said.
Notably, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 was also postponed by a year when the Covid-19 pandemic first started spreading across the world. However, exactly one year later, the 2021 Games were successfully held in Tokyo.
Late month, it was reported that the postponement of the Asian Games, which is second only to the Olympics in terms of the number of participants, was becoming a possibility due to the growing threat of COVID-19 in the country. In fact, the number of infections that China is presently dealing with is the highest it has ever witnessed.
Shanghai is reporting a record number of daily cases in the city, which has been under a strict lockdown for more than a month. Hangzhou, the venue of the Asian Games, is only a short train ride away from Shanghai.
Hangzhou, an e-commerce hub in the country, made it mandatory for each of its 10 million residents to take at least one nucleic acid test every 48 hours following an unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases. Omicron’s outbreak.
An executive committee meeting of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) was held today where the organisers were to present their plans for the Asian Games.