Hangzhou 2022: Asian Para Games sets stage for Singapore dreams to shine
By May Chen
The Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, affectionately nicknamed the “Big Lotus”, was in full bloom once again on Sunday night (Oct 22), as the spotlight turned to shine on the Asian Para Games.
The 4th edition of the quadrennial multi-sport bonanza officially began in a grand ceremony that married history, culture and traditional arts with some state-of-the-art technologies.
For two hours, using song, dance, and sign language, the opening ceremony brought to life the Games’ slogan of “Hearts Meet, Dreams Shine”.
Having hosted the 2010 edition of the Games, China are now the first to stage the quadrennial sports event twice. Photo: SportSG/Dyan Tjhia
China, as the first nation to host the Asian Para Games twice, was keen to ensure the opening ceremony of the Para Games were given as much attention, investment, and treated with as much care as the able-bodied edition’s about a month ago.
That mandate was clear for all to see.
Just like the Asian Games’ opening on September 23 in the same venue, advanced technologies like 3D imagery and augmented reality were employed. The ceremony went beyond just being visual and audio – as spectators took in the sights, the fragrance of golden osmanthus flowers also permeated the arena.
Chinese vice-premier Ding Xuexiang declared the Games open.
From now until the close of the Games on October 28, some 3,000 of the continent’s best para-athletes will aim, race, strategise and vie to lift their teams up high across 22 sports.
Team Singapore will be represented by 31 athletes in nine sports, with para swimmer Wong Zhi Wei taking on the assignment of flying the Republic’s flag high at the opening as flag bearer.
He said: “I'm honoured and delighted to be the flag bearer for TeamSG.
“Having been the flag bearer for the 2017 Asean Youth Para Games, it feels great to once again fly the flag at an international Games. It's always exciting to walk into the stadium with the contingent during the ceremony.”
At the Hangzhou Asian Para Games, Singapore will be represented by 31 para athletes across nine sports. Photo: SportSG/Flona Hakim
The contingent also includes boccia player 17-year-old Aloysius Gan, a Games debutant and also the youngest in the Singapore contingent. There is also lawn bowler Mahendran Pasupathy, the oldest in the team at 76 years old – and also a Games debutant.
Team Singapore’s athletes have not been idle in Hangzhou. Already, a handful spent the last few days in action across boccia, para lawn bowls and para badminton.
Athletes will also compete in para archery, para athletics, para powerlifting, shooting para sport, para swimming and para table tennis.
As with all opening ceremonies, the highlight of the night centred around the lighting of the cauldron, and it did not disappoint.
Using AR technology, the Big Lotus stadium turned into a grand display of golden osmanthus flowers in full blossom. Paralympic gold-medallist swimmer Xu Jialing, a Zhejiang province native, was fitted with a bionic arm as she took flame to cauldron.
It was a fitting nod to the participants whose fiery grit and athletic feats will be the focus over the coming days.
The 4th Asian Para Games are held in Hangzhou, China from 22 to 28 October 2023. For the latest Team Singapore coverage and news, follow Team Singapore on their social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok) or visit the official Team Singapore website.