By Liu Yao
The 19th Asian Games will kick off in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province a month later.
The city is ready to open its arms to athletes and spectators from around the world. The Chinese people are confident that Hangzhou will present a splendid and successful Asian Games.
The Hangzhou Asian Games will feature 40 sports, 61 disciplines and 481 events, and a record number of more than 12,000 athletes is ready to take part. All 45 national and regional Olympic Committees in Asia have confirmed participation in the Hangzhou Asian Games, and some will send their largest delegations in history.
The lineup of events at the Hangzhou Asian Games is also highly anticipated. The 40 sports include most Olympic sports as well as wushu, sepaktakraw, cricket, kurash, ju-jitsu and other sports representing the athletic cultures of East, Southeast, South, Central and West Asia. There are also emerging sports favored by the young generation such as skateboarding, sport climbing and esports.
As the largest comprehensive sports event in Asia, the Hangzhou Asian Games will showcase the diversity and inclusiveness of the Asian sports culture, attract more young athletes to participate, and inject new vitality into the Games with over 70 years of history.
Apart from the host city Hangzhou, there are five co-host cities - Ningbo, Wenzhou, Huzhou, Shaoxing and Jinhua. Together, these cities will provide 54 competition venues, 31 training venues, the main Asian Games Village and five sub-villages. The organizational complexity far exceeds previous editions.
To fully utilize venue resources, the Hangzhou Asian Games has set up 8 venue clusters and 7 multi-sport venues. The competition venues are distributed around the Asian Games Village, so as to enhance the utilization of venues and improve athletes' experience.
So far, all competition venues have been completed and passed the inspection of the sports events function, and the Asian Games Village and sub-villages are also fully ready for occupancy.
The Hangzhou Asian Games is organized according to green and sustainable principles. Only around 1/5 of the venues are newly built, while the rest are renovated ones.
For instance, the gymnasium of Hangzhou Dianzi University, which was opened in 2006 as a basketball venue, will host fencing events during the Hangzhou Asian Games.
When the venue was upgraded and renovated, relevant parties decided after evaluation to retain the original two electronic displays and over 5,000 seats. Through meticulous planning, the renovation saved over 20 million yuan ($2.79 million).
Among the renovated or temporary venues, prefabricated construction and recyclable, renewable materials are extensively used. For example, the glass walls and spectator seats of the squash venue at the Hangzhou International Expo Center will be entirely dismantled after the Games and donated to the relevant industries for the promotion of the sport.
The intelligence level of the Hangzhou Asian Games has reached a new height, leveraging technologies for better venue management, service support and spectators' experience.
At the main venue of the Games, the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, spectators can locate seats and bathrooms with augmented reality navigation with a mini app on Alipay, a mobile payment platform managed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
As the first-ever integrated digital spectating service platform for a major international multi-sport event, the mini app on Alipay connects various Asian Games scenarios and integrates urban services, providing spectators with one-stop services covering ticketing, transportation, spectating, accommodation, dining, tourism and more.
Ticket sales for events started on Aug. 14. Tickets for popular sports like table tennis, badminton and swimming were instantly sold out. For esports, which is making its Asian Games debut, purchasers have to sign up for a draw before actually paying for the tickets.
The high-level international sports event is driving up public passion for sports. To allow the benefits of the Asian Games to be enjoyed by all people, the Hangzhou Asian Games has set a precedence of opening competition venues to the public before the Games starts.
After the Games were postponed, all competition and training venues were opened for public use, attracting over 8 million visits.
Besides, in the venue design and construction process, considerations were made not just for use during the Asian Games, but also for functional needs after the Games. Post-Games operators of most of the venues have already been confirmed, which prevents the venues from being idly unused and wasted after the Games.