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The third Asian Youth Games (AYG) will be held in China in November 2021 featuring a competitive programme that athletes will surely enjoy.
The AYG is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia and is organised by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).
Amidst this announcement, OCA director general Husain Al Musallam, circulated a letter to the president and secretary general of the OCA’s 45 National Olympic Committees expressing his hope that everyone is “safe and healthy” and his confidence that all necessary precautions are being taken to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “The OCA, while maintaining a very strict isolation policy, is still continuing its activity and liaising with the various Asian Games Organising Committees to ensure that the preparations for the Games are not hindered. In this respect, I have the pleasure to inform you that the OCA, in coordination with the Shantou 3rd Asian Youth Games Organising Committee (SAYGOC), has decided the dates and sports programme of the 3rd Asian Youth Games.”
The AYG will be staged in Shantou, a port city in Guangdong province, from November 20 to 28 in 2021 and will feature 18 sporting events, including Olympic Games staples such as athletics, aquatics, gymnastics and football. There will also be new Olympic sports like surfing and rock climbing and Asian favourites such as dragon boat racing and wushu. Other sports include badminton, basketball 3x3, beach volleyball, golf, handball, hip hop dance, rugby, table tennis, taekwondo and wind surfing.
The OCA’s inaugural AYG took place in Singapore in 2009 and the second in Nanjing, China in 2013. Both events were test events for the host cities of the International Olympic Committee’s Youth Olympic Games in 2010 and 2014. The fourth edition will be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan in 2025.
China will also be hosting the OCA’s 6th Asian Beach Games in Sanya, Hainan province, from November 28 to December 6, 2020 and the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, from September 10 to 25 in 2022.
Meanwhile, the Olympic Council of Asia’s 19th Asian Games also unveiled its mascots during a digital launch ceremony which will be three sporty robots representing the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Hangzhou in eastern China.
The three robots are known collectively as the “smart triplets” to reflect the internet prowess of Hangzhou city and Zhejiang province.
The robot Congcong represents the archaeological ruins of Liangzhu City. It derives its name from the Cong jade pendant – the quintessential relic unearthed from the ruins dating back 5,000 years. It takes yellow, the colour of earth and bumper harvest, as the main tone.
Lianlian represents the West Lake and the name signifies a lake full of lush lotus leaves. Green stands for life and nature.
The third mascot is Chenchen, which represents the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal. It takes its name from the Gongchen Bridge - a landmark structure in the Hangzhou section of the Grand Canal. Blue represents science and technology.
Raja Randhir Singh, chairman of the coordination committee, stated that the mascots conveyed the smart intelligence of the modern world and the energy of the future and stood out as a landmark in the history of the Asian Games. He said: “The mascots are vibrant and rich in content, integrating Chinese culture, characteristics of the city of Hangzhou and the spirit of the Asian Games and the Asian continent.”.
The organising committee received 4,633 submissions for the mascot designs and the robot characters were the creations of Zhang Wen and Yang Hongyi, lecturers from the China Academy of Art.