Pakistani athletes receive warm welcome in Hangzhou

HANGZHOU: The Pakistani contingent received a rousing applause as they entered the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 2023 Asian Games.

The enthusiastic welcome was seen as a sign of friendship and respect for the Pakistani athletes, who have a long tradition of sporting excellence at the Asian Games, Gwadar Pro reported on Monday.

Pakistan’s ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque, noted the warm reception on the X platform (formerly known as Twitter), saying, “Pakistan Contingent to Asian Games in Hangzhou entering the stadium amidst big applause of Chinese spectators. Best wishes to our athletes.”

A contingent of 262 Pakistani athletes and officials, including 137 men and 53 women, will be competing in over 26 sports at the Games.

The Pakistan Swimming Team will be participating from September 24-29, the Hockey Team from September 24-October 7, and the Tennis Team from September 24-30.

Shahid Afraz Khan, a Pakistani sports expert in Hangzhou for the Games, remarked that the host city has made superb arrangements for this major multi-sport competition.

He added, “Fans are getting a chance to learn about each other’s culture along with great competition during the Asian Games, which is definitely a bridge in promoting harmony.”

Khan expressed confidence that the Pakistani athletes will perform strongly at these Games, noting their warm reception here underscores the high expectations and support they enjoy.

Their participation also highlights the close Pakistan-China ties, including in sports. Pakistani athletes credited the Chinese government’s assistance in their preparations and voiced gratitude for the support.

The 19th Asian Games opened officially on September 23. Over 12,500 athletes from across Asia are competing in 481 events across 40 sports over the next two weeks. –INP