Asian Games faces 'possibility' of postponement, says official

The 2022 Asian Games is scheduled to be held in September in Hangzhou near Shanghai. PHOTO: THE 19TH ASIAN GAMES HANGZHOU 2022

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) - The 2022 Asian Games in China is facing the "possibility" of being postponed, a senior official told Agence France-Presse on Thursday (April 22), after a rumour that it would be moved to next year.

The Olympic-sized event is scheduled to be held in September in Hangzhou near Shanghai, which is grappling with a major coronavirus emergency.

"No official decision has been taken by the committee until now, but there is a possibility that it will be postponed," said Kuwait's Husain Al-Musallam, director-general of the Olympic Council of Asia, the Games' governing body.

Most international sports events have been on hold in China since the Covid-19 pandemic, although Beijing hosted the Winter Olympics in a strict bio-bubble in February.

Shanghai, China's biggest city, has witnessed the country's worst Covid outbreak in two years, with weeks-long restrictions keeping most of its 25 million inhabitants confined to their homes.

All 56 competition venues for the Games have already been completed, Chinese organisers said this month, promising to publish a virus-control plan that takes its cue from the Winter Olympics.

"We're now just making a few final adjustments and improvements to the facilities," Lu Chunjiang, an official in charge of operations at Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre, told state broadcaster CCTV.

Hangzhou, less than 200 kilometres from Shanghai, is scheduled to hold the Games from September 10-25, becoming the third Chinese host after Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.

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