From Delhi To Guangzhou
- Asian Games 2010
By Hishan Welmilla
With the memories of the 19th Commonwealth Games held in Delhi fading away, the Asian athletes are grooming themselves for the next challenge ahead — the Asian Games 2010.
The experience gathered from Delhi will definitely help the athletes to blossom in the ‘Flower City’ of Guangzhou, China from November 12 to 27 as the 16th Asian Games get underway. Guangzhou will be the second city in China to host the games after Beijing in 1990.
Sri Lanka is also a contender and will be sending a considerable number of athletes and also teams for team games which includes cricket.
Olympic Council of Asia officially declared cricket as an Asian games sport. Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh and the host nation China will participate in the tournament which is played in the Twenty20 format. There would be separate tournaments for men’s and women’s teams. Incidentally, it was disappointing when India announced that they will not send a cricket team in both men’s and women’s categories. The Indian Cricket Board said the teams will not be available for the global event because of its international schedule.
Sri Lanka will have a very good chance of claiming the first ever medal in cricket at the Asian Games. Besides cricket, the medal hopes at the Asian Games from the Sri Lankan contingent is very much limited, but athletes will be focused on bettering their own timing. Lankans received a blow as Sri Lankan boxer Manju Wanniarachchi is unlikely to compete at the Asian Games. Wanniarachchi, who won men’s 56kg bantamweight title at last the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, said to media that he will be forced to skip the Asian Games due to an injury.
The preparation for the games is well in advance compared to the struggle faced by India to meet the deadlines. As India worked feverishly to prepare for the Commonwealth Games that began October 3, Asian Games Town with 8,000 apartments in China’s Guangzhou city is complete and has been handed over to the organising committee nearly two months ahead of the sporting event.
Asian Games Town, which took more than two years to be constructed, has been formally handed over to the Guangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee (GAGOC).
The town is ready to accommodate an estimated 40,000 athletes, coaches, technical officials and members of the media from 45 countries and regions. It has been built on the banks of Pearl River tributaries and is spread over 2.73 sq km
An Asian Games traffic lane has also been earmarked to reduce travel time to competition and training venues during the games. The town has been aesthetically developed with riverside communities and tropical trees, giving it an ambience typical of South China. Over 63 per cent of the town has been covered in greenery and tropical trees and fruit plants are now being planted.
The 16th Asian Games will feature 42 sports (58 disciplines), including 28 Olympic sports and 14 non-Olympic sports. The Asian Games, also called the Asiad, is a multi-sport event held every four years that includes athletes from all over Asia.
The full competition schedule for 42 sports i should be finalised before October 30. From November 5, all venues will be open for training, by which time facilities and equipment for the Guangzhou Asian Games will have been installed and fine-tuned. The organisers are confident that the purchasing and installation of facilities and equipment for the Asian Para Games will be completed before November 10.