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Hangzhou Asian Games marks one-year countdown

Aerial photo taken on March 30, 2022, shows a view of Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, the main stadium of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)

The postponed Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games welcomed its one-year countdown with "smart" competition venues ready.

HANGZHOU, Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- With all competition venues completed and test events held, Hangzhou is set to host a green and smart Asian Games as the "City of Heaven" commemorated one year to go to the opening of the postponed 2022 Games on Friday.

In accordance with Asian Games standards, a string of national gymnastics and trampoline competitions were held at the Hangzhou Huanglong Stadium over the past month.

"The championships took place at the Asian Games venue and provided an atmosphere and environment similar to international competitions," said Sun Dan, coach of the National Rhythmic Gymnastics team.

Xiang Lulu of Anhui competes during the women's floor exercise final at the National Artistic Gymnastics Championships in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. (Xinhua/Jiang Han)

Besides hosting the competitions, the venues have also been a perfect demonstration of what the Asian Games can bring to public welfare, as 56 competition venues and 31 training facilities have opened to the public since July 1 this year.

"Although the Asian Games has been postponed, we decided to open up the venues to the public instead of leaving them empty for a year," Chen Weiqiang, deputy secretary general of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee.

As "smart" is one of the concepts of the Hangzhou Asian Games, the intelligent reconstruction project (Phase I) was completed in April this year at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium ("Big Lotus") and Tennis Center Finals Hall ("Small Lotus"), the two main venues for the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games, which also fulfilled the expectation of the Olympic Council of Asia.

Photo taken on March 30, 2022, shows a view of Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, the main stadium of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang Province. (Xinhua/Huang Zongzhi)

Chen, also the deputy mayor of Hangzhou, said that the organizing committee would focus on refining the venue operation plan, upgrading the information command system, hosting test events and promoting the national fitness atmosphere.

"There is still one year to go that we see it as an additional opportunity to involve more people to participate in and support the Asian Games," he added.

The 19th edition of the multi-sports Games, second in size only to the Summer Olympics, was scheduled to take place from September 10-25 in the capital of Zhejiang province. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the organizers to postpone the Games in May and then determine new dates - Sept. 23 to Oct. 8, 2023.