Asian Games

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Asian Games
MottoEver Onward
First event1951 Asian Games in New Delhi, India
Occur everyFour years
Last event2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia
Next event2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China
PurposeMulti-sport event for nations in Asia

The Asian Games, also known as Asiad,[1] is a continental multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation (AGF) from the first Games in New Delhi, India, until the 1978 Games. Since the 1982 Games, they have been organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), after the breakup of the Asian Games Federation.[2] The Games are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and are described as the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.[3][4]

There have been nine nations that have hosted the Asian Games. Forty-six nations have participated in the Games, including Israel, which was excluded from the Games after their last participation in 1974. The most recent games was held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia from 18 August to 2 September 2018. The next games are scheduled to be held in Hangzhou, China from 10–25 September 2022.

Since 2010, host cities manage both the Asian Games and the Asian Para Games, the latter an event for athletes with physical conditions to compete with each other. The Asian Para Games are held immediately following the Asian Games, but exclusion of Asian Para Games from Asian Games host city contract meant that both events run independently of each other.


Prior formation[edit]

The Far Eastern Championship Games existed previous to the Asian Games, the former mooted in 1912 for a location set between the Japan, the Philippines, and China. The inaugural Far Eastern Games were held in Manila in 1913 with 6 participating nations. There were ten Far Eastern Games held by 1934. The second Sino-Japanese War in 1934, and Japan's insistence on including the Manchu Empire as a competitor nation in the Games, brought China to announce its withdrawal from participation. The Far Eastern Games scheduled for 1938 were cancelled. The organization was discontinued.[5]


After World War II, sovereignty came to several areas of Asia. Many of these countries sought to exhibit Asian prowess without violence. At the London 1948 Summer Olympics, a conversation started amongst China and the Philippines to restore the idea of the Far Eastern Games. Guru Dutt Sondhi, the Indian International Olympic Committee representative, believed that the restoration of the Far Eastern Games would sufficiently display the spirit of unity and level of achievement taking place in Asian sports. He proposed the idea of a new competition  – which came to be the Asian Games. The Asian Athletic Federation would eventually be formed. A preparatory committee was set up to draft the charter for this new body. On 13 February 1949, the Asian Athletic Federation was formally inaugurated in and New Delhi, announced as the inaugural host city to be held in 1950.[6][7]

Crisis, reorganisation, expansion[edit]

The first Asian Games opening ceremony

In 1962, the Games were hit by several crises. The host country Indonesia, refused to permit the participation of Israel and Taiwan due to political recognition issues. The IOC would terminate its sponsorship of the Games and terminated Indonesia membership in the IOC.[8] The Asian Football Confederation (AFC),[9] International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) and International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), also removed their recognition of the Games.[10][11]

South Korea renounced its plan to host the 1970 Asian Games on the grounds of a national security crisis; the main reason was due to a financial crisis. The previous host, Thailand, would host the Games in Bangkok using funds transferred from South Korea.[12] Japan was asked to host but declined the opportunity as they were already committed to Expo '70 in Osaka.[13] This edition marked the Games' inaugural television broadcasting, world-wide.[14] In Tehran, in 1974, the Games formally recognized the participation of China, North Korea and Mongolia. Israel was allowed to participate despite the opposition from the Arab world, while Taiwan was permitted to continue taking part (as "Chinese Taipei") although its status was abolished in general meeting on 16 November 1973 by Games Federation.[15]

Prior to the 1978 Games, Pakistan retracted its plan to host the 1975 Games due to a financial crisis and political issues.[16] Thailand offer to host and the Games were held in Bangkok. As in 1962, Taiwan and Israel were refused the participation by Games Federation, amid political issues and security fears.[17] Several governing bodies protested the ban. The IAAF threatened to bar the participating athletes from the 1980 Summer Olympics.[18] Several nations withdraw prior to the Games opening.[19]

These events led the National Olympic Committees in Asia to revise the constitution of the Asian Games Federation. The Olympic Council of Asia was created in November 1981, excluding Israel.[20] India was scheduled to host in 1982 and the OCA decided not to drop the old AGF timetable. The OCA formally started to supervise the Games with the South Korea 1986 Asian Games.[21] In the succeeding Games, Taiwan (Republic of China) was re-admitted, under pressure by the People's Republic of China to compete as Chinese Taipei.[22]

In 1994, the Games included the inaugural participation of the former republics of the Soviet Union: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. It was the inaugural Games held in a host country outside its capital city.[23] However, Iraq was suspended from the Games due to the 1990 Persian Gulf War. North Korea boycotted the Games due to political issues. It was marred during the Games' opening ceremony by the death of Nareshkumar Adhikari, the chief of the Nepalese delegation.[24]

The 1998 Games marked the fourth time the Games were held in Bangkok, Thailand. The opening ceremony was on 6 December; the previous three were on 9 December. King Bhumibol Adulyadej opened the Games; the closing ceremony was on 20 December (the same date as all the previous games hosted by Thailand).


The Asian Games Movement uses symbols to represent the ideals embodied in the Asian Games charter. The Asian Games motto is "Ever Onward" which was designed and proposed by Guru Dutt Sondhi upon the creation of the Asian Games Federation in 1949. The Asian Games symbol is a bright sun in red with 16 rays and a white circle in the middle of its disc which represents the ever glimmering and warm spirit of the Asian people.


Since the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi, India, the Asian Games have had a mascot, usually an animal native to the area or occasionally human figures representing the cultural heritage.


All 45 members affiliated to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) are eligible to participate in the Games.

According to membership in the OCA, transcontinental Kazakhstan participates in the Asian Games but Egypt does not as a country with Asian minor region in Sinai, participating in the African Games instead. Various countries participating in the European Games rather than the Asian Games whose major geographical parts located in Asian continent: Turkey and Russia/Soviet Union, almost completely in Asia: Azerbaijan and Georgia, wholly in Asia: Cyprus, Armenia, and Israel.

In history, 46 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have sent competitors to the Games. Israel has been excluded from the Games since 1976, the reason cited as being due to security reasons.[25] Israel requested to participate in the 1982 Games, but the request was rejected by the organizers due to the Munich massacre.[26] Israel is now a member of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and competes at the European Games.

Taiwan, Palestine, Hong Kong, and Macau participate in the Asian Games according to membership in OCA. Due to its continuing ambiguous political status, Taiwan participates in the Games under the flag of Chinese Taipei since 1990. Macau NOC is allowed to compete as one of the NOCs in Asian Games, despite not being recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for participation in the Olympic Games.

In 2007, the President of OCA, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, rejected the proposal to allow Australia to participate in the Games. He stated that while Australia would add good value to the Asian Games, it would be unfair to the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC).[27] Being members of ONOC, Australia and New Zealand participates in Pacific Games since 2015. This motion was mooted again in 2017 after Australia's participation in the 2017 Asian Winter Games as they are in discussions to become a full Asian Games member from 2022 or 2026.[28] However, the Australian Olympic Committee announced that Australia would be allowed a small contingent of athletes for the 2022 Games, as long as the qualification for Summer Olympics events such as basketball and volleyball are through Asia.[29]

There are only seven countries, namely India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand that have competed in all editions of the games.

List of Asian Games[edit]

1951, 1982
1951, 1982
1962, 2018
1962, 2018
1966, 1970, 1978, 1998
1966, 1970, 1978, 1998
2006, 2030
2006, 2030
Host cities of the Asian Games
EditionYearHost city(ies)Host countryOpened byStart dateEnd dateNationsCompetitorsSportsEventsTop-ranked teamRef.
I1951New Delhi IndiaPresident Rajendra Prasad4 March11 March11489657 Japan (JPN)[30]
II1954Manila PhilippinesPresident Ramon Magsaysay1 May9 May18970876 Japan (JPN)[31]
III1958Tokyo JapanEmperor Hirohito24 May1 June161,8201397 Japan (JPN)[32]
IV1962Jakarta IndonesiaPresident Sukarno24 August4 September121,4601388 Japan (JPN)[33]
V1966Bangkok ThailandKing Bhumibol Adulyadej9 December20 December161,94514143 Japan (JPN)[34]
VI1970Bangkok ThailandKing Bhumibol Adulyadej9 December20 December162,40013135 Japan (JPN)[35]
VII1974Tehran IranShah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi1 September16 September193,01016202 Japan (JPN)[36]
VIII1978Bangkok ThailandKing Bhumibol Adulyadej9 December20 December193,84219201 Japan (JPN)[37]
IX1982New Delhi IndiaPresident Zail Singh19 November4 December233,41121147 China (CHN)[38]
X1986Seoul South KoreaPresident Chun Doo-hwan20 September5 October224,83925270 China (CHN)[39]
XI1990Beijing ChinaPresident Yang Shangkun22 September7 October366,12227310 China (CHN)[40]
XII1994Hiroshima JapanEmperor Akihito2 October16 October426,82834338 China (CHN)[41]
XIII1998Bangkok ThailandKing Bhumibol Adulyadej6 December20 December416,55436377 China (CHN)[42]
XIV2002Busan South KoreaPresident Kim Dae-jung29 September14 October447,71138419 China (CHN)[43]
XV2006Doha QatarEmir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani1 December15 December459,52039424 China (CHN)[44]
XVI2010Guangzhou ChinaPremier Wen Jiabao12 November27 November459,70442476 China (CHN)[45]
XVII2014Incheon South KoreaPresident Park Geun-hye19 September4 October459,50136439 China (CHN)[46]
XVIII2018Jakarta-Palembang IndonesiaPresident Joko Widodo18 August2 September4511,30040465 China (CHN)[47]
XIX2022Hangzhou ChinaPresident of the People's

Republic of China (expected)

10 September25 SeptemberFuture event[48]
XX2026Aichi-Nagoya JapanEmperor of Japan (expected)19 September4 OctoberFuture event
XXI2030Doha QatarEmir of Qatar (expected)Future event
XXII2034Riyadh Saudi ArabiaKing of Saudi Arabia (expected)Future event


The average for the edition of events by the edition of the Asian Games is of nearly 260 events with 24 sports by edition. Fifty-one sports, spanning 39 different disciplines and nearly 400 events, have been part of the Asian Games program at one point or another, including the 2018 Games in Indonesia. The edition where the largest number of events was the Guangzhou 2010 Games, where 476 events in 42 sports were disputed. The number of events varies according to edition and the demands of the local organizing committee, along with those of the host country. It was established in 2011, that the Games program would respect the eventual changes to the Olympic Games program along with this, eight extremely popular sports in Asia are in the program, plus up to 7 chosen by the local organization.[49][50]

ArcherySince 1978
BadmintonSince 1962
BaseballSince 1994
Board games2006–2010
Bowling1978, 1986, since 1994
BoxingSince 1954
CanoeingSince 1986
Contract bridge2018 only
Cue sports1998–2010
Cycling1951, since 1958
Dancesport2010 only
Dragon boat2010 and 2018
Equestrian1982–1986, since 1994
Fencing1974–1978, since 1986
Field hockeySince 1958
GolfSince 1982
GymnasticsSince 1974
HandballSince 1982
JudoSince 1986
KabaddiSince 1990
KarateSince 1994
Martial art sports2018 only
Paragliding2018 only
Pencak Silat2018 only
Modern pentathlon1994, 2002, since 2010
Roller sports2010 and 2018
RowingSince 1982
Rugby sevensSince 1998
Sailing1970, since 1978
Sepak takrawSince 1990
ShootingSince 1954
Sport climbing2018 only
Softballsince 1990
Soft tennissince 1990
Squashsince 1998
Synchronized SwimmingSince 1994
Table tennis1958–1966, since 1974
Taekwondo1986, since 1994
Tennis1958–1966, since 1974
TriathlonSince 2006
VolleyballSince 1958
Water poloAll
Weightlifting1951–1958, since 1966
WrestlingSince 1954
WushuSince 1990


Synchronized SwimmingSince 1994
Water poloAll
BaseballBaseballSince 1994
SoftballSince 1990
3x3 basketballsince 2018
Board gamesChess2006–2010
CanoeingSlalom canoeingSince 2010
Sprint canoeingSince 1990
Traditional boat race2010 and 2018
CyclingBMX racingSince 2010
Mountain biking1998–2002, since 2010
Road cycling1951, since 1958
Track cycling1951, 1958, since 1966
EquestrianDressage1986, since 1994
Endurance2006 only
Eventing1982–1986, since 1998
Jumping1982–1986, since 1994
Tent pegging1982 only
GymnasticsArtistic gymnasticsSince 1974
Rhythmic gymnasticsSince 1994
TrampolineSince 2006
Martial art sportsJujitsu2018 only
Kurash2018 only
Pencak Silat2018 only
Sambo2018 only
Mechanical sportsJetski2018 only
ParaglidingParagliding2018 only
Roller sportsArtistic roller skating2010 only
Roller speed skating2010 and 2018
Skateboarding2018 only
Rugby unionRugby union1998–2002
Rugby sevensSince 1998
TennisTennis1958–1966, since 1974
Soft tennisSince 1994
VolleyballVolleyballSince 1958
Nine-a-side volleyball1958–1962
Beach volleyballSince 1998
WushuTaoluSince 1990
SandaMen: Since 1998

Women: Since 2010

Medal count[edit]

Of the 46 National Olympic Committees participating throughout the history of the Games, 43 nations have won at least a single medal in the competition, leaving three nations: Bhutan, Maldives and Timor-Leste yet to win a single medal. 38 nations have won at least one gold medal (only Japan and India have done so at every Asian Games), while Japan and China became the only two nations in history to emerge as overall champions.[51]

1 China (CHN)14739947203187
2 Japan (JPN)103210379853054
3 South Korea (KOR)7456638272235
4 Iran (IRI)179181197557
5 India (IND)155201316672
6 Kazakhstan (KAZ)155158244557
7 Thailand (THA)132175279586
8 North Korea (PRK)110144179433
9 Chinese Taipei (TPE)99144276519
10 Indonesia (INA)91120235446
Totals (10 nations)41713817425812246

Most valuable player award[edit]

The most valuable player (MVP) award was introduced since 1998 Games in Bangkok, Thailand. Below is the list of winners:

1998 Koji ItoAthletics[52]
2002 Kosuke KitajimaSwimming[52]
2006 Park Tae-hwanSwimming[53]
2010 Lin DanBadminton[54]
2014 Kosuke HaginoSwimming[55]
2018 Rikako IkeeSwimming[56]

Centennial Festival[edit]

On 8 November 2012, the OCA decided at its 31st General Assembly in Macau to create a special multi-sport event called Asian Games Centennial Festival in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Oriental Games (later became Far Eastern Championship Games).[57] OCA awarded the Philippines the hosting rights as it was also the host 100 years previous. The event was originally scheduled to be held in Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan on 27 to 29 November 2013 but due to the events surrounding Typhoon Haiyan, it was moved to January 2014.[58]


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External links[edit]

  • Olympic Council of Asia: Games