The country has decided against sending its athletes amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in the host nation.

Australia will not send athletes to the 2022 Asian Games due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which is a setback for the organising committee. Hangzhou in China will be the host city for the continental competition that takes place from 10 September 2022 to 25 September 2022. The organisers are unable to share a detailed plan for conducting the multi-sport event if the zero-covid policy of China continues.

Apparently, the Olympic Council of Asia invited a total of 300 athletes and 150 staff from Oceanic nations for the first time in the mega event. However, Australia has rejected the invite. “No athletes from Australian sports will take part,” an Australia Olympic Committee spokesperson clarified to AFP.

Surging COVID-19 cases

The reason behind Australia’s reluctance in participating in the Asian Games 2022 is likely the COVID-19 outbreak in China. The city of Shanghai in particular is witnessing a massive COVID-19 outbreak. It is merely 200 kilometres away from the host city of Hangzhou. Furthermore, some events from the Asian Games will also take place in cities like Ningbo, Wenzhou, Huzhou, Shaoxing and Jinhua.

The organisers are also working on a high-speed rail line for a smoother commute in Hangzhou for the event. However, Australia’s refusal to send their athletes is concerning for the multi-sport event at large. There is an air of doubt over the successful execution of the event and other countries too may rethink sending their athletes with covid running amok in China.

The organisers are referencing the successful organisation of the Beijing Winter Olympics held in February. But, given the country’s strict policies and lockdowns, it is unclear how the organising committee will pull it off. If any major country like Japan or South Korea decides to pull out as well, then it will be deeply concerning for China and could lead to the postponement of the Asian Games in the worst-case scenario. 

The venues are ready

There are a total of 44 venues that will host numerous events during the Asian Games. The organisers claim that the construction of all the venues is complete. In a situation where the mega-event is postponed, China will have to bear extreme costs for the same. Having said that, the health and safety of the athletes and support staff take higher priority. 

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