The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has requested an update from Beijing on the COVID-19 situation in China but remains confident the Asian Games will go ahead in Hangzhou in September, a senior official at the body told Reuters on Monday.
The 19th edition of the multi-sports Games, second in size only to the Summer Olympics, is scheduled to take place from Sept. 10-25 in the capital of Zhejiang province, some 175 kilometres southwest of Shanghai.
A media report last week quoted the OCA’s director-general as saying that there was a possibility the Games would have to be postponed because of the month-long COVID-19 lockdown in China’s financial capital.
A senior official, speaking under condition of anonymity, said on Monday that the OCA had been in contact with Chinese officials but there was “as of now” no concern about cancellation or postponement.
“The OCA has written to Beijing to get more clarity on the situation and we are waiting for a report,” he said.
“The matter will be taken up for discussion at the OCA executive board meeting in Tashkent on May 6.”
There was no immediate response to a request for comment from the local organising committee in Hangzhou.
Most international sporting events in China have been postponed or cancelled since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the notable exception of the Winter Olympics, which went ahead in Beijing under strict health controls in February.
The OCA official said the body drew confidence from the fact that the Winter Games had been successfully completed and expected similar biosecurity controls to be in place for the Asian Games.
Hangzhou organisers said in early April that all 56 competition venues for the Games had been completed and test events were continuing as the lakeside city prepares to host more than 11,000 athletes from 44 nations and territories.
The Tokyo Summer Olympics were postponed by a year to 2021 because of the impact of the early stages of the global health crisis.