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News in Pictures / China Dazzles Digitally in Asian Games Opening Ceremony; Japan Sends Largest Delegation Ever
13:55 JST, September 26, 2023
HANGZHOU, China — Lights dazzled, cameras flashed and action started Saturday at the 19th Asian Games during the type of opening ceremony China is known for staging.
Originally scheduled for 2022, the Games in Hangzhou in eastern China were postponed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chinese President Xi Jinping declared the Games open during the ceremony, which was enhanced by digital technology. Images using 3D animation displayed rivers and ink paintings of landscapes. Out of concern for the environment, the fireworks display was replaced by a digital one using cutting-edge technology.
A digitally projected runner joined final torchbearer Wang Shun of China, an Olympic gold medalist in swimming, to ignite the cauldron.
About 12,500 athletes from all 45 member countries and regions of the Olympic Council of Asia are competing in 481 events in 40 sports over 16 days through Oct. 8. The Games are also serving as qualifiers for next year’s Paris Olympics for some sports, such as boxing and field hockey.
Japan sent its largest-ever delegation with 1,137 athletes, coaches and other staff.
The delegation marched into Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium, affectionately known as the Big Lotus, behind the team’s flag bearers: women’s fencer Misaki Emura and men’s rifle shooter Akihito Shimizu.
In a notable sign of the current state of Asian affairs, the North Korean and South Korean delegations marched in separately. During the 18th Asian Games in Jakarta, the athletes from both nations wore matching jackets and marched together.
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