The eagerly awaited 19th Asian Games officially commenced in Hangzhou, China on Saturday (September 23) night.  The opening ceremony of the Asian Games on Saturday in China offered all the staples of a major international sports event.

Xinhua reported on September 23 that with the theme 'Tides Surging in Asia', water played a central role throughout the cultural performance.  It reportedly symbolized the memories of the Qiantang River, the excitement of sports, Zhejiang's spirit, and the pulse of the times, illustrating the connection between China, Asia, and the broader world.

Chinese President Xi Jinping declared the Asian Games open at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center at 21:16 Beijing time.  The event was reportedly graced by numerous state leaders and international dignitaries.

The Associated Press (AP) reports that among the dignitaries on hand were Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, and King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia.

According to Xinhua, dignitaries greeted General Secretary Xi Jinping, fans packed the 80,000-seat Olympic Sports Center Stadium in Hangzhou to capacity, and many of the 12,417 participants from 45 nations and territories paraded to officially open the two-week show.

By comparison, next year’s Paris Olympics will field about 10,500 competitors.

The AP noted that one big thing, however, was missing: real fireworks, the exploding kind that smell of power and burnt fuses. Instead, the high-tech games — billed of course as “green games” — offered electronic flash, 3D animations and a virtual torchbearer.

The AP says many of the 481 events offer a chance for smaller delegations to win medals, which is often impossible at the Olympics.  China won almost 300 medals in the Asian Games five years ago and is sure to dominate again followed by Japan and South Korea.

The Afghan team arrived, including women, and marching under the non-Taliban flag.

More than 100 Tajik athletes are participating in the 19th Asian Games.  They are competing for medals in eighteen of forty sports to be played in the Asian Games in Hangzhou. 

Tajik judoka Temur Rahimov was flagbearer of the delegation of Tajikistan.  

Tajikistan’s National Olympic Committee (NOC) counts on successful performance of boxers, judokas and wrestlers. 

Since 1994, Tajik athletes have participated in seven Asian Games and won 28 medals, including four gold medals.  

The Asian Games, also known as Asiad, is a continental multi-sport event held every fourth year among athletes from all over Asia.  The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation (AGF) from the first Games in New Delhi, India, until the 1978 Games.  Since the 1982 Games, they have been organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), after the breakup of the Asian Games Federation.  The Games are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and are described as the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.

Nine nations have hosted the Asian Games.  Forty-six nations have participated in the Games, including Israel, which was excluded from the Games after its last participation in 1974.  The most recent games were held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia, from August 18 to September 2, 2018.

Since 2010, host cities manage both the Asian Games and the Asian Para Games, the latter an event for athletes with disabilities to compete with each other. The Asian Para Games are held immediately following the Asian Games, but the exclusion of Asian Para Games from any Asian Games host city contract means that both events will run independently of each other.