The Hangzhou 19th Asian Games in September was postponed because of Covid-19’s omicron variant pandemic situation in China to a still-to-be-determined date, according to Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) President Rep. Abraham “Bambol” Tolentino on Friday.
Tolentino said that the decision to postpone the Games was arrived at after a meeting among officials of the Chinese Olympic Committee (COC) and Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (HAGOC) with members of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Executive Board on Friday in Tashkent.
“HAGOC has been very well prepared to deliver the Games on time despite global challenges,” the OCA said in a statement. “However, the above decision was taken by all the stakeholders after carefully considering the pandemic situation and the size of the Games.”
The Games were set for September 10 to 25 and the OCA, COC, and HAGOC said the new dates be announced in the near future.
Tolentino said that despite the postponement, the name and emblem of the 19th Asian Games will remain unchanged and that the “OCA believes that the Games will achieve complete success through the joint efforts of all parties.”
An offshoot of the Asian Games’ postponement was the cancelation of the Third Asian Youth Games which were scheduled from December 20 to 28 also this year in Shantou, China.
“After discussion with the COC and the Organizing Committee, the OCA EB decided that as the Asian Youth Games had already been postponed once, the Asian Youth Games Shantou 2021 will be cancelled,” the OCA said.
The next Asian Youth Games, the OCA added, will be held in 2025 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
“The OCA thanks Shantou Organizing Committee for its great work during the preparation phase,” the OCA said. “We strongly believe that this effort will be beneficial to many different aspects of the development of the city, especially in the field of sport as well as for the promotion of Olympic spirit in Asia.”
The Tokyo 2020 Olympics were also moved a year because of the pandemic with China going on with its hosting of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in February before the resurgent of infections from the coronavirus.