Skip to main content

Xi to open Asian Games as China targets sporting glory

People watch a light show of the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium
— Hangzhou (China) (AFP)

Chinese President Xi Jinping will declare the Asian Games open at a glittering ceremony in Hangzhou on Saturday, kickstarting a sporting behemoth that boasts more athletes than the Olympics.

After being delayed by a year due to China's strict zero-Covid regime, more than 12,000 competitors from 45 nations across Asia and the Middle East are in the eastern city to compete in 40 sports.

Xi is scheduled to open proceedings officially in one of the country's most prosperous regions, in front of invited guests including Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Assad -- on his first visit to China since war erupted in Syria in 2011 -- will join leaders from ally Cambodia, Kuwait, and Nepal, among others at Hangzhou's Olympic stadium, state media said.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.