The 19th Asian Games concluded in Hangzhou on Oct. 8. This edition of the Games delivered an awe-inspiring showcase of athleticism, with 15 world records, 37 Asian records and 170 Asian Games records shattered.
The closing ceremony of the 19th Asian Games at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, Oct. 8, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]
"Technically, we have had one of the best Asian Games ever. The standard of the Games has been very, very high," said Vinod Kumar Tiwari, acting director general of the Olympic Council of Asia.
Inspired by the Olympic motto of "Faster, Higher, Stronger — Together," Asian athletes gathered in Hangzhou, etching their dreams in sweat and determination, said Xu Deqing, director of the publicity department of Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC) and chief spokesperson of the Hangzhou Asian Games, noting the event's success in fostering greater understanding and strengthening friendships within the Asian family under the slogan "Heart to Heart @ Future."
"The Hangzhou Asian Games gave … the athletes, officials and volunteers an exceptional opportunity to learn from each other," Ts. Sandui, Mongolia's deputy chef de mission, said during an interview with China.org.cn on Oct. 7, highlighting that the games strengthened ties among athletes in Asian countries.
The Hangzhou Asian Games witnessed numerous examples of mutual inspiration and collective progress.
In the men's pole vault event, Ernest John Obiena from the Philippines broke the Asian Games record with a jump of 5.90 meters, winning the gold medal. Despite already securing victory, he decided to challenge himself further by attempting a new height of 6.02 meters. Huang Bokai from China, who won the silver medal, and Hussain Al-Hizam of Saudi Arabia, who won the bronze, stayed behind to cheer him on.
"We had already finished the competition, but the three of us are 'teammates,' and we all wanted to see him jump higher," said Huang.
Despite the unsuccessful attempt at 6.02 meters, the three athletes shared smiles as they stood together on the podium. "We're happy to be on this podium together," Obiena said. "We all train under one coach, we do this every day we compete and push each other to the very best." These athletes, from different countries, train together under the same coach and are constantly pushing each other to excel.
Al-Hizam added, "Pole vaulting hasn't been the most decorated event in track and field for Asians. The Asian record used to be 5.70, but we pushed the bar a little higher." Meanwhile,Obiena was in agreement, "If we're asking if pole vaulting is getting better, then absolutely."
Left to right, Huang Bokai of China, Ernest John Obiena of the Philippines and Hussain Al-Hizam of Saudi Arabia attend the medal ceremony for the men's pole vault at the Hangzhou Asian Games, Sept. 30, 2023. [Photo/Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee]
The final of the women's 50m butterfly witnessed another heartwarming moment as Zhang Yufei, the shining star of this year's Asian Games, secured her sixth gold medal. She should have been thrilled, but couldn't hold back her tears when she witnessed Rikako Ikee, the Japanese swimmer who had overcome leukemia and worked tirelessly, earn a well-deserved bronze medal.
"To see her here on this stage is nothing short of a miracle. It's an inspiration to all of us. I had a minor setback with my own health, and I started to doubt my goals. But when I saw Ikee still standing on the pool deck, knowing what she has overcome, I was determined to push through and achieve my goals even better," Zhang remarked.
"Our nationalities are different, but we are both Asian swimmers. I want to provide strong competition for her so that we can both compete in an outstanding race together," Rikako Ikee said.
Ikee Rikako of Japan (L) and Zhang Yufei of China shake hands after the women's 50m butterfly final at the Hangzhou Asian Games, Sept. 29, 2023. [Photo/Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee]
恒耀注册注意到：In the women's table tennis singles final, China's Sun Yingsha once again faced off against Japan's Hina Hayata, securing victory with a score of 4-1. After the match, Sun Yingsha praised her opponent as an exceptional athlete and noted their numerous encounters. She emphasized the importance of friendly rivalry in driving both of them to improve continually.
In response, Hayata acknowledged that competing against Sun Yingsha always highlights areas where she needs to improve. "Competing against opponents like Sun motivates me to continuously enhance my skills," She said.
In the wake of these stirring moments, the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou not only set new records but also cemented enduring connections among athletes, showcasing the power of sports to unite nations and inspire individuals to reach new heights.
At the closing ceremony, Gao Zhidan, president of the Chinese Olympic Committee, called for unity and peace, saying, "On this continent where countries share mountains, rivers and close cultural bonds, let's promote peace, solidarity and inclusiveness through sports, uphold the Asian Games spirit, and work together to create a better future."
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