International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach (L) speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Hangzhou on Sept. 22, 2023. (Xinhua/Cao Can)
IOC president Bach said the Hangzhou Asiad has set new standards for future Asian Games in different ways.
HANGZHOU, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- The Hangzhou Asian Games has set an example for future Asian Games in many different ways, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach said here on Friday.
Bach made the remarks during an exclusive interview with Xinhua, one day before the 19th Asian Games officially opens in Hangzhou.
Around 12,500 athletes from 45 countries and regions are taking part in the Hangzhou Asiad, a record high in Asian Games history.
"First of all, it will be the biggest ever with more than 12,000 athletes. Secondly, it will also set new standards with regards to the sustainable organization of such great Games, carbon emission, zero waste policies and many other efforts," Bach said.
Athletes compete in the women's single dinghy ILCA6 at the 19th Asian Games in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province on Sept. 22, 2023. (Xinhua/Chen Bin)
"It will also benefit from the enthusiasm of the sports-loving Chinese people. The athletes can be very, very happy to enjoy China as such a great host for a big sports event in such a short period of time."
The Hangzhou Asian Games, which was postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, marks the third time that China has hosted the Asiad, after Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010. It is also the largest international sporting event held in China since the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games.
Bach acknowledged China's importance and ever growing commitment to the Olympic movement.
"The truly exceptional Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games has brought the Olympic Winter Games to new heights with regard to the participation, and made more than 300 million Chinese people familiar with winter sports," he noted. "This is unique."
Fireworks light up the sky during the opening ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games at the National Stadium on Feb. 4, 2022.
Bach highly commended China's contribution to the global Olympic movement.
"The cooperation with the Chinese Olympic Committee is going very well. And in many international federations, China is playing an ever growing and more important role," he said.
"This is greatly appreciated because we see an overall shift in the world towards Asia in sport, but not only in sport. China is the leading nation, and this is why we appreciate our close partnership with China on the field of sport so much."
The IOC chief also expressed his appreciation about how the Hangzhou Asian Games has welcomed new sports, as breakdancing is set to make its debut as an official sport at the coming Asiad. ■