China’s National Games torch passes to HK, Macau and Guangdong

28-Sep-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 5:02 AM Print This Post

The curtain is coming down on China’s elite National Games in the ancient city of Xian, bringing to a close the biggest sporting event the country has hosted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was the special guest at the closing ceremony, with the chief executives of Hong Kong and Macau Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Ho Iat-seng also attending.

The games are seen as a major test of the country’s prevention measures for the Beijing Winter Olympics in February and as of Monday, no Covid-19 infection had been linked to the event.

This year the event attracted more than 12,000 athletes from around the country to the northwestern province of Shaanxi.

Authorities in Shaanxi tightened pandemic control measures more than a month before the start of the event, according to Ma Guanghui, deputy director for the games’ medical team and the provincial health commission.

“The pandemic control experience from the Xian event was a valuable lesson, but the Beijing Winter Olympics will have even higher standards,” news outlet quoted Ma as saying.

Several of China’s Olympians repeated their record-breaking performances, with track athlete Su Bingtian winning his first National Games gold in the 100 metres. He crossed the line in 9.95 seconds, the only competitor with a time under 10 seconds.

During the Tokyo Olympics, Su recorded Asia’s fastest time in the event at 9.83 seconds.

Swimmer Liu Xiang won gold in the women’s 50-metre freestyle in 23.97 seconds, smashing her own previous Asia-best record of 24.03 seconds.

And diving star Quan Hongchan came out on top in the women’s 10-metre platform.

The games’ organisers did not keep an official media table. But media outlets in Guangdong put the province first, while others calculated that Shandong province was the overall winner.

The games are held every four years and will be co-hosted in 2025 by Guangdong province, Hong Kong and Macau.

Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Sports Park will be one of the main venues in the city and is expected to be completed in 2023, according to Johnny Woo Wai-man, CEO of the executive arm of the planning committee of the 2009 East Asian Games, the last major multi-sport event Hong Kong hosted.

“The most important thing now is to discuss with the National Sports Administration, and Guangdong and Macau authorities what events will be hosted in which location,” Woo said.

The Kai Tak park will include a main stadium with a fixed seating capacity of 50,000, an indoor sports centre with up to 10,000 seats and a public sports ground for 5,000 spectators.


Category: China, Hong Kong

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