Thinley Namgay 

The 19th Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, China from September 23 to October 8 next year.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) on July 19 declared new dates for the competition owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The games were supposed to commence from September 10 to 25 this year.

In his official letter to the president and the member nations, OCA’s director-general, Husain Al Musallam, said that considering the pandemic, the OCA Executive Board in its meeting in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on May 6 agreed to postpone the 19th Asian Games.

He said that the board instituted a task force which held discussions with Olympic Committee of China, the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee, and other concerned stakeholders to finalise the new dates so that there is no conflict with other major international sporting events.

The task force held its final meeting on July 17 and forwarded its recommendation to the OCA Executive Board for approval.

Bhutan will compete in aquatics, archery, athletics, boxing, judo, karate, shooting, and taekwondo categories.

In the 2018 games in Jakarta and Palembang in Indonesia, 24 Bhutanese athletes, including nine women, competed in archery, golf, boxing, and taekwondo.

Archer Karma said that athletes are undergoing training as usual and the postponement of the competition would give them more time to prepare.

Around 11,000 athletes from 45 Asian countries will contest in 61 disciplines (40 sports) in the quadrennial continental multi-sport event like the Olympics.

Hangzhou will become the third Chinese city to host the continental competition after Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.

The construction of all venues and facilities for the games was completed in April.