Asian Games: Hangzhou says farewell with lights, colour, musical spectacle

On the first digital turf in the Games' history, China closed down the 19th Asian Games with a fanfare of art meets technology, before handing over to Japan

19th Asian Games closing ceremony in Hangzhou, on 8 October 2023 (photo: IANS)
19th Asian Games closing ceremony in Hangzhou, on 8 October 2023 (photo: IANS)


On the first digital turf in the Games' history, said to have been designed with ecologically sound technology and grafted with art, Hangzhou bid adieu to the 19th Asian Games with a sensational display of light and sound that mesmerised the packed Olympic Sports Centre Stadium.

Embedded with LED lights, the turf is capable of outlining dynamic images of a sea of stars, representing an interaction between “people and landscape”, showcasing the vibrancy of Hangzhou’s natural scenery as well as evoking the shared bonds with nature across Asia.

As hundreds of the athletes walked into the stadium, the Indian contingent was led by the men's hockey goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who along with Manpreet Singh became one of only two Indian players to have won two gold medals in hockey at the Asian Games.

If the opening ceremony was centred on water in its various forms, the closing ceremony focused on people. It showcased the most exciting and touching moments featuring athletes throughout the Games, while also highlighting the contributions of the thousands of volunteers and the millions of citizens of Hangzhou and nearby areas who made these Games possible.

The closing ceremony also highlighted the spirit of 'sports without borders', the harmony between culture and sports, and the intertwining of thought and feelings with the hope to inspire millions of youth across the Asian continent.

The acting president of the Olympic Council of Asia, Randhir Singh, declared the 19th Asian Games closed.

He thanked all stakeholders and the people of Hangzhou for organising the best Asian Games of recent times and invited the youth of the continent to assemble in three years, in 2026, in Aichi-Nagoya in Japan for the 20th Asian Games.

The organising committee of the Hangzhou Asian Games then handed over the flag from the first Asian Games (held in New Delhi in 1951) and the flag of the Olympic Council of Asia to the mayor of Aichi-Nagoya.

The organising committee of the next Asian Games in Japan then presented its vision of the 20th edition of the continental extravaganza, highlighting popular motifs from the culture and music of Japan and specifically Aichi-Nagoya.

Popular Kabuki actor Kankuro Nakamura performed on a virtual bridge, rendered in the style of an ukiyo-e woodblock print, the ancient art that his ancestors took from Aichi-Nagoya to Tokyo. 

With Nagoya Castle's Honmaru Palace, which served as a central location for political functions during the Samurai era, as the backdrop, Kankuro and his son Kantaro performed the roles of the shishi lion-dog and cub at the virtual palace, with digital technology used to produce a splendid display of Aichi-Nagoya's vaunted craftsmanship and culture.

And with that, it's farewell to Hangzhou and hello to Aichi-Nagoya.

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