The curtain rose for the 19th Asian Games at the opening ceremony at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou, east China’s Zhejiang Province, on Saturday night.
The theme for the opening ceremony is “Tide of Asia,” which originated from Zhejiang’s signature tidal bore of the Qiantang River, according to the lead director of both the opening and closing ceremonies, Sha Xiaolan.
Tide reflects the image of Zhejiang, the excitement of sports, the spirit of Zhejiang and the pulse of the era. The opening ceremony was divided into three parts, or three tides, representing traditional Chinese culture, sports and humans.
The whole ceremony was connected by water and promoted by various tides to illustrate the combination of China with Asia and the world in the new era.
Over 12,000 athletes from 45 Asian countries and regions will participate in 481 events across 61 disciplines in 40 sports during the Asian Games. Many of them attended the opening ceremony during the parade. As the host, China is fielding 886 athletes, the second-most in their participation history at the Asian Games, to compete in 407 events across 38 sports.
Swimmer Qin Haiyang and basketball player Yang Liwei carried the flag for China at the opening ceremony. Qin won four gold medals and set a new world record at the World Aquatics Championships in Fukuoka, Japan, in July. Yang is the captain of the Chinese women’s national basketball team.
Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony and declared the 19th Asian Games open.
After the flag of the Olympic Council of Asia was flown and the organization’s anthem played, Chinese table tennis player Sun Yingsha and badminton player Zheng Siwei took the oath on behalf of all athletes.
As part of the unique features of the opening ceremony, over 100 million people joined hands on an app to ignite the digital flame for the 19th Asian Games.