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Asia's global sporting influence highlighted

By BAO DAOZU | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-10-09 07:36
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Huge attention

Abdul Halim Bin Kader, president of the Asian SepakTakraw Federation, said: "This sport is very fashionable. Thanks to its development and promotion in recent years, a variety of regional competitions have emerged in Asia and across the world. The Asian Games in Hangzhou marked a milestone for sepak takraw."

The inclusion of breaking and esports attracted huge attention and generated a buzz among young people at the Games. Esports was included for the first time as a demonstration sport at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, with China winning two gold medals and one silver.

This year in Hangzhou, it debuted as an official medal sport, featuring seven competitions — Arena of Valor Asian Games Version, Dota 2, Dream Three Kingdoms 2, League of Legends, PUBG Mobile Asian Games Version, Street Fighter V, and EA Sports' FIFA-branded football game. On Sept 27, China won the first gold medal in the sport by beating Malaysia in the final of the Arena of Valor Asian Games Version.

Breaking was included in the 19th Asian Games program at a meeting of the OCA General Assembly in Muscat, capital of Oman, in December 2020, following a successful appearance at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 2018, and its subsequent inclusion in the program for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Yang Meng, a Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee official, said: "Breaking was added to the Games, as it is popular among young people. Through breaking, we hope more people, especially the younger generation, will be attracted to the Asian Games and sports."

Singh believes the successful Asian Games in Hangzhou will further promote the continent's ability to host major multinational sporting events.

"We are the only continent — and we should be proud of this — that has been ready to host any Games at any time, back to back," Singh said. He was referring to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the Republic of Korea in 2018, the delayed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, and the Winter Olympics in Beijing last year.

"In 2029, the Winter Asian Games are due to be staged in Saudi Arabia, something that once would never have been imaginable," Singh added.

"We had one of the finest World Cups (soccer) in Qatar last year. The World Beach Games were supposed to be staged in another part of the world, but with just six months' notice, Qatar hosted them. In addition, Beijing has hosted the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics.

"Where does all this happen? It happens here in Asia."

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