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May 6, 2022

Covid-19 forces Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games postponement, Chengdu 2021 follows suit

The 2022 edition of the Asian Games, the quadrennial multi-sport event that was due to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 10 to 25, has been postponed to 2023 as the country deals with its worst Covid-19 outbreak since the start of the pandemic.

By Stu Robarts

The 2022 edition of the Asian Games, the quadrennial multi-sport event that was due to be held in Hangzhou, China, from September 10 to 25, has been postponed to 2023 as the country deals with its worst Covid-19 outbreak since the start of the pandemic.

The decision, made and announced today (May 6), was taken by the Chinese Olympic Committee, the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee, and the Olympic Council of Asian (OCA) executive board “after carefully considering the pandemic situation and the size of the games.”

Data from Johns Hopkins University indicates that the number of Covid-19 cases in China is now falling after hitting a seven-day rolling average peak of over 30,000 in mid-April.

However, its seven-day rolling average for yesterday (May 5) remained at over 20,000, with over 1,300 of those in Shanghai, which is less than 200km from Hangzhou.

The decision to postpone the games, which were awarded to Hangzhou in 2015, was in part informed by their scale, with the Asian Games Village having been set to accommodate 20,000 athletes and participants. This, among other factors, was deemed too high risk for a place that is currently in lockdown with other stringent restrictions in place.

In a statement, the OCA said: “The Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee has been very well prepared to deliver the Games on time despite global challenges. However, the above decision was taken by all the stakeholders after carefully considering the pandemic situation and the size of the Games.”

The Asian Games were last held in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia, in 2018. After Hangzhou, they are due to be held in Aichi-Nagoya in Japan (2026), Doha in Qatar (2030), and Riyadh in Saudi Arabia (2034).

As part of today’s announcement, the OCA confirmed that the Asian Youth Games Shantou 2021, which were scheduled for December 20 to 28 this year having already been postponed once, have now been canceled.

The next Asian Youth Games will therefore be held in 2025 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Subsequent to the OCA’s announcement, the International University Sports Federation (FISU) revealed that the World University Games, which were due to be held in Chengdu from June 26 to July 7 having already been postponed from last year, have been pushed back again.

Leonz Eder, acting president of FISU, said: “The decision to reschedule Chengdu 2021 is not one that was made easily, but it is the right decision for university athletes. Their welfare is always our number one priority. Continued uncertainty over conditions has made rescheduling the sensible choice – a number of national university sports federations had already changed their plans.

“Taking a team to the FISU World University Games is a great responsibility and FISU is confident that this decision will enable the greatest possible number of university athletes to attend next year.”

Lake Placid in New York, US, is due to host the 2023 FISU World University Games Winter, while the 2025 summer games are to be hosted by Torino, Italy, and the 2025 summer games by Rhine-Ruhr, Germany.

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