International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach (L) speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Hangzhou, capital city of east China's Zhejiang Province, Sept. 22, 2023. (Xinhua/Cao Can)
HANGZHOU, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- "We appreciate very much that the Asian Games has new programs," International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach told Xinhua on Friday, the day before the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou.
The Hangzhou Asiad features not only emerging sports such as breakdancing, but also some local Asian sports like sepak takraw and kabaddi, reflecting the region's diverse sporting culture.
"Traditional sports should be nurtured. They are part of our tradition of our history," Bach said. "The IOC has been leading the way by introducing a number of new sports to the program of the Olympic Games."
Bach added, "At the Tokyo Olympics, we saw there already 3x3 basketball, climbing, skateboarding and surfing, and now we have the addition of breaking in Paris, which are very much important to keep the interest of the young generation and are very popular among them."
Looking ahead to the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles, Bach said once the organizers apply for new sports, the program commission of the IOC will look into and come up with recommendations, with boxing notably absent from the 2028 program of events after controversy surrounded the sport at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
"We want boxing in the Olympic program because boxing is a very global sport with high social values, but the sport has to be governed by an international federation with full integrity and transparency. This is what the athletes deserve," Bach said.
Bach also talked about anti-doping issues related to weightlifting, saying "we had an unacceptable number of doping cases during the Games and outside the Games."
"Now, we still have to look into one or the other governance issue. But we see good progress in weightlifting," Bach added. ■
International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Hangzhou, capital city of east China's Zhejiang Province, Sept. 22, 2023. (Xinhua/Chen Yehua)