The 2022 Asian Games, which were due to be held in Hangzhou, China, in September, have been postponed due to the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the country.
This is the first time ever in the Games' history that the Asiad has been postponed, since its inaugural edition in New Delhi in 1951.
The host city of Hangzhou is less than 200 km away from Shanghai, which is currently fighting another Covid-19 outbreak and has strict restrictions in place, including weeks-long lockdown.
OCA has said that the new dates for the Asian Games 2022 will be announced soon.
“Following detailed discussions with the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) and the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC), the OCA Executive Board (EB) decided to postpone the 19th Asian Games. The new dates will be agreed between the OCA, the COC and the HAGOC and announced in the near future,” OCA said in a statement.
However, as per olympics.com, the event might now happen only in 2023.
The postponement of yet another major tournament (first one being the Tokyo Olympics), has led to a great disappointment and stress among various athletes, coaches and officials.
Talking with PTI after hearing the announcement, Indian archer Tarundeep Rai shared his concerns regarding the same.
He said, "It's a big, big blow to me. I am already 38 and I was planning to retire after the Asian Games this year. I'm clueless now, this is a really massive setback to my preparations. I feel I was reaching the peak in my career again after the disappointment of the Olympics last year. I have to discuss with my family and coaches to take a fresh call now."
Ace Indian sprinter Dutee Chand was also disappointed to hear about the postponement of the Games. In an exclusive interview with The Bridge, Dutee too voiced the age concern like Tarundeep did.
"This can't be happening again. For athletes who are into running, age plays a crucial role, if the Games get postponed like this, it just means more trouble for us. We aren't getting any younger, right? I am not that fast anymore as I used to be, pushing back the Asian Games would only harass the athletes more, I feel," said the star sprinter.
Asian Games 2022 was considered to be a historic moment for the Esports community as the new-age sports was set to make its Asiad debut in this edition.
After hearing the news, Lokesh Suji, Director, Esports Federation of India & Vice President of the Asian Esports Federation (AESF) said, "The well-being of the athletes is the top priority and this news is expected as there was news floating about the Covid resurgence in China. While the wait gets longer but the excitement remains the same. We should look at this as a blessing in disguise, giving our Indian esports contingent more time to sharpen their skills to further our chances of podium finishes."
Even though the postponement of the Asian Games 2022 is a great setback for many athletes, we hope, all of them will get through these hard times and comeback stronger.