China names Asian Games team, outlines ‘political’ mission

By Martin Quin Pollard

BEIJING (Reuters) – China unveiled on Tuesday its 886-strong team and its sporting and political goals for the Hangzhou Asian Games which start this month, a year later than planned due to China’s COVID situation and restrictions.

The Chinese team, who have topped the medals table at every Asian Games since 1982, should repeat that feat in Hangzhou, the director of the national sports bureau, Gao Zhidan, said at the team’s launch in Beijing on Tuesday, state media reported.

Also among the sporting “requirements” for athletes is to “bring glory to the country, and fully demonstrate the immense power of China’s modern sports practice”, Gao was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

All team members must also raise their “political awareness”, remember the “greater cause of the nation” and “present a positive image of China’s reform, development and social progress to Asia and the international community,” Gao said.

The Asian Games, also known as the Asiad, are like an Olympics for Asian countries and usually take place every four years.

The 19th edition of the Games in the Eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou run from Sept. 23 to Oct. 8 and will feature 12,500 athletes, more than ever before, organisers have said.

There will be 40 different sports, including athletics, swimming, cricket, dragon boat racing and esports (computer games) which for the first time will be a medal-winning event.

(Reporting by Martin Quin Pollard, editing by Ed Osmond)