Politics in sports


China is world's "most relevant sports event organiser", says Samaranch at Hangzhou 2022

China is world's "most relevant sports event organiser", says Samaranch at Hangzhou 2022
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Praise has been heaped on China and its President Xi Jinping by International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice-president Juan Antonio Samaranch and member Uğur Erdener for the country's staging of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.

It is the third time that the continental event has been staged here in China, following the Beijing 1990 and Guangzhou 2010 editions.

Samaranch was present at a banquet held by Xi before the Opening Ceremony which included the likes of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, making his first visit to China since 2004.

Samaranch said he has been following the Games from the sidelines and has described Xi as a critical player in the Olympic Movement.

"His commitment, his support to sport and the role that sports and Olympics can play for the youth, for the entire society, I think, is what I would take as most important," Samaranch said, as reported by Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua.

"It's great to have such an important partner for sports and international Olympic matters."

China also staged the World University Games in July and August and is due to host the 2025 Asian Winter Games in Harbin.

For Samaranch, this makes the country "the most relevant sports event organiser" in the world.

The Games' Opening Ceremony was described as Olympic-level by the Spaniard despite its departure from the traditional use of fireworks in favour of digital light shows.

World Archery and Turkish Olympic Committee President Erdener's admiration for Hangzhou 2022 came from the perceived seamlessness that the Games is running with.

He states it was also on display at capital city Beijing's hosting of the 2008 Summer and 2022 Winter Olympic Games.

"As far as yesterday's opening is concerned, let me put it in one word," Erdener, an IOC member since 2008, said to Xinhua.

"It was excellent. "It was the kind of organisation that no country other than China can achieve."

Hangzhou 2022 features the "Asian Games Village" which sees an unprecedented approach of having the athletes, media, and technical officials villages all together.

The 73-year-old described it as one of the most picturesque, well-organised, and eco-friendly he has seen.

Hangzhou 2022 features around 12,500 athletes from 45 nations and is due to continue until October 8.

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