BEIJING, Oct. 11, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Syrian boxer Ahmad Ghousoon claimed a hard-fought bronze in the men’s 80kg competition on October 4, Syria’s only medal at the 19th Hangzhou Asian Games.
Due to the conflict and economic blockade in their homeland, problems such as poor training facilities are the reality that Syrian athletes have faced in the past decade. But Ghousoon and other Syrian athletes have never given up on their dream of competing at the Asian Games.
“This is the third time I have come to China. When I walk on the street, many people greet me. And once we need help, many people come to help us. Coming here is like coming home,” he told China Media Group.
Sports strengthen friendship
The 19th Asian Games, which concluded on October 8, provided a stage for competition while also promoting friendship and unity among people from different regions.
After winning the gold medal of the Women -87kg Final of Kurash, Chinese athlete Liu Yi burst into tears. She went through repeated injuries and endured high pressure to win the championship.
Seeing Liu crying, her Iranian rival Zahra Bagheri kissed her cheek to comfort her, and the two embraced and smiled.
“I tried so hard today. She is my best friend and I have a lot of respect for her,” Bagheri said afterwards. “I congratulate her and I hope we see each other in another match in another competition.”
Also, pole vaulter Ernest John Obiena faced logistical challenges with the Philippine delegation when he arrived in Hangzhou ahead of the official opening of the Games. Hussain Al-Hizam of Saudi Arabia let Obiena stay with the Saudi camp and share their training facilities.
Building an Asian community with a shared future
The Olympic Council of Asia’s (OCA) Acting Director General Vinod Kumar Tiwari spoke highly of the Hangzhou Asian Games on Sunday.
“Technically, we have had one of the best Asian Games ever. The standard of the Games has been very, very high. We are very happy with it.”
Ghazal Khalaj, captain of the Iranian women’s kabaddi team, praised the overall management of the Hangzhou Asian Games, specifically for providing them full access to facilities, medicine and treatment.
Since the opening of the event, the Media Village and official hotels have received nearly 300 letters of thanks from guests from Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, Indonesia and other countries and regions, and 37,600 volunteers have been praised for their courtesy and hospitality.
“We should use sports to promote unity, seize the historic opportunity, and jointly stand up to the challenges. We should honor the OCA motto of ‘Ever Onward,’ and open up broader prospects for the Asian road toward common development, openness and integration,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the welcoming banquet of the opening ceremony of the Hangzhou Asian Games in September.
With sports as a bridge, the Hangzhou Asian Games was a platform for cultural exchange and mutual understanding of civilizations. This year’s Asian Games not only saw all 45 OCA members participating, but also witnessed the largest number of events ever, including athletics, swimming and other major Olympic sports, as well as wushu, sepak takraw, cricket, Kurash and other special events that represent the sports culture of different regions.
“Sport is a tool. We have to realize Asia is one of the strongest continents in the world. We have to be united… By using the sport, we become stronger as Asian countries,” Raja Sapta Oktohari, president of the Indonesian National Olympic Committee told CGTN.