The Asian Games, also known as the Asiad, is a multi-sport event that takes place every four years and involves athletes from countries across Asia.
Hangzhou, China, is set to host the 19th edition of the quadrennial event this year from September 23 to October 8.
Here’s a brief history of the Asian Games:
Guru Dutt Sondhi, an Indian member of the International Olympic Committee, first proposed the idea of the Asian Games as the means to restart the erstwhile Far Eastern Games. The event aimed to foster goodwill and understanding among Asian nations through sports. The event was officially established during a meeting of the Asian Athletic Federation in 1949. The first edition was held in New Delhi in 1951 with 11 participating countries.
The Asian Games Federation (AGF) regulated the event till 1978. Since 1982, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has organised all the editions. Overall, nine nations have hosted the Asian Games.
Asian Games are recognised by the International Olympic Committee and hence, work as a qualifier for sports like field hockey for the Summer Games.
Since 2010, the host has conducted both the Asian Games and the Asian Para Games, the latter an event for athletes with disabilities.
The event also has had its fair share of controversies.
Israel and Taiwan were not allowed by host Indonesia to participate in the 1962 edition due to political recognition problems. South Korea dropped out of hosting the 1970 edition due to national security crisis.
In 1962, host nation Thailand did not permit athletes from Israel and Taiwan, which forced the National Olympic Committees in Asia to revise the constitution of the Asian Games Federation, leading to the formation of the Olympic Council of Asia, which excluded Israel.
Only seven countries - India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand - have competed in all editions of the Asian Games.
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