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Asian Games wrap up first week

HANGZHOU (AP) – The two-week Asian Games featuring 12,500 participants from 45 nations and territories have completed their first week in China.

The opening ceremony in the packed 80,000-seat Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in Hangzhou featured electronic flash, 3D animations and a virtual torchbearer.

Many of the 481 events offer a chance for smaller delegations to win medals, which is often impossible at the Olympics. The regional fare includes dragon boat racing, sepak takraw – sometimes called “kick volleyball” – wushu, a Chinese martial art, and kabaddi, a popular contact sport on the Indian subcontinent.

Add to this a long list of what organisers call “mind sports” from bridge to chess to xiangqi (Chinese chess) to esports like League of Legends.

South Korea’s League of Legends team won not only the gold medal but also an exemption from military service at home. In South Korea, the law exempts athletes, classical and traditional musicians, and ballet and other dancers from military service if they have obtained top prizes in certain competitions and are assessed to have enhanced national prestige.

The youngest member of the nearly 900-strong delegation from China, a 13-year-old skateboarder, is going home with a gold medal in women’s street skateboarding. Cui Chenxi is already planning for next year’s Paris Olympics.

Nine sports at the Asian Games offer qualification spots for the Olympics – archery, artistic swimming, boxing, breaking, hockey, modern pentathlon, sailing, tennis, and water polo.

ABOVE & BELOW: Chinese swimmer Wang Shun holds the torch to light the cauldron with a digital torchbearer inn background during the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in China; people take picture of Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium during light and show performance ahead of the Asian Games. PHOTO: AP
India’s Sanjay passes the ball during a hockey. PHOTO: AP
Hong Kong’s James Murray Christie runs to score a try during the men’s semi-final Rugby Sevens match. PHOTO: AP
ABOVE & BELOW: Iran’s Hanieh Rajabi competes in the Wushu Women’s Nanquan competition; a worker with a costume of Lianlian, one of three Hangzhou Asian Games mascots; and China’s Feng He fights Iran’s Mohsen Mohammadseifi in the Wushu men’s 70kg final. PHOTO: AP
ABOVE & BELOW: China’s Shiyan Xu fights Kazakhstan’s Kamila Berlikash during the women’s 78kg of the mixed team bronze medal judo match; Taiwan and South Korea teams compete during the Esport League of Legends final; and Liang Jianhao of China competes against Kim Junho of South Korea during their men’s sabre team finals fencing event. PHOTO: AP


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