Smart venues get the green light

High-tech, environmentally conscious stadia and facilities have been put through their paces ahead of the Asian games to ensure full event readiness.


File photo of Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium. PHOTO: CHINA DAILY

September 22, 2023

BEIJING – On the afternoon of Aug 30, a seamless series of rehearsals for the table tennis competitions took place at Gongshu Canal Sports Park Gymnasium in Gongshu district in Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang province.

Everything, from the athletes’ arrival and the matches themselves, to the awards ceremony and post-match press conference, were organized, practiced and timed, with it all going smoothly and to plan.

“During the Asian Games, the Gongshu Canal Sports Park Gymnasium will host the table tennis and breaking competitions. The venue operation team is continually optimizing every aspect to ensure that the venue operation meets the requirements of the Asian Games,” said Wang Xiaochen, a staff member of the gymnasium.

The Asian Games, the continent’s largest sports event, is making a return to China for the first time in 13 years, since it was held in Guangzhou in 2010, and more than three decades after Beijing first hosted the competition in 1990.

After eight years’ preparation, all the 56 competition venues, including 12 new projects, have been completed and Hangzhou is fully ready to welcome athletes, officials and participants from all across Asia for the sporting extravaganza, which starts on Sept 23 and will run through Oct 8.

“Hangzhou is all set,” said Chen Weiqiang, executive secretary-general of the Hangzhou Asian Games Organizing Committee, also the city’s vice-mayor. “Our volunteers are ready, and tickets for the event, which went on sale on July 8, are selling well both online and offline.”

Work to prepare all 56 competition venues and 31 training venues, whether they’re newly built or renovated, is complete. The Asian Games Village, five Asian Games sub-villages and reception hotels are ready to provide comfortable accommodation for athletes, technical staff and media during the Games, according to the committee.

With the focus on smart, green and sustainable facilities, all competition venues for the 19th Asian Games in Zhejiang province have been built, or renovated, to meet the requirements of both the games and, afterward, the daily recreational and sporting needs of local residents.

Renowned as a hub for developing artificial intelligence, cloud computing and big-data technologies, the main host city Hangzhou is embracing the Asiad as a high-profile showcase of the latest high-tech solutions for hosting international events.

The Tonglu Equestrian Centre, for example, has been equipped with a “digital twin” system to stage the competitions.

“It is a virtual replica of the equestrian center,” said Zou Jianhua, operations director of the center. “The system helps monitor the real-time conditions of the center from a dozen aspects, including security, fire safety, energy consumption and visitor footfall. It will also automatically activate an alert system in the case of emergencies.”

The 24-hour water circulation system installed at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Aquatic Sports Arena ensures the high quality of the pool water, as well as promoting energy conservation.

AI machines that can translate 83 languages are provided for athletes from around the world at the Xiaoshan Linpu Gymnasium, the venue for the judo, kurash, and jiujitsu events.

The organizing committee has also cooperated with e-commerce giant Alibaba to launch a digital service platform — Smart Hangzhou 2022 — on Alipay to help facilitate the stay of all participants and visitors to Hangzhou by offering one-stop services. Using the AR map on the platform, spectators can easily find their seats at the venues.

In co-host city Ningbo, nestled within the scenic Songlan Mountain Resort in Xiangshan county, the Asian Games Sailing Centre boasts a tranquil bay encompassed by two protective breakwaters.

Sailboats can be seen gliding out of the bay and making their way to the open sea after circumnavigating a lighthouse at the edge of the bay.

As the only competition venue involving marine construction for the Hangzhou Asian Games, the center kicked off its first event on Wednesday.

Being a comprehensive sports facility specially designed for sailing competitions, the center also offers training courses for large and small sailboats, storage warehouses and award podiums.

It will host a variety of exciting sailing competitions during the games.

“On Aug 29 and 30, we held a warm-up for the national team, allowing us to test all the elements involved in the event, from people to materials, processes to procedures, to check the readiness for the actual competition,” said Yang Sheng’ang, executive deputy commander of the sailing center.

With the complex maritime meteorological and hydrological conditions, a meteorological team in Ningbo has developed a customized and tailor-made plan for the Asian Games, which includes updated professional detection equipment and various technologies, such as wind profile radars, to provide precise monitoring, as well as accurate forecasts and services for the Xiangshan competition area.

Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium

Seating: 80,800

Floor space: 216,000 square meters

Events: Opening and closing ceremonies, athletics

Highlights: Its shape is inspired by ancient silk textures and weaving systems; its architectural form vividly reflects the surging waves of the Qiantang River and its roof consists of 28 petal-shaped structures and 27 smaller ones. In 2020, it won the Luban Award, one of the most prestigious construction awards in China.

Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Tennis Centre

Seating: 10,000

Floor space: 523,000 square meters

Events: Tennis, soft tennis

Highlights: Nicknamed “the Small Lotus”, the whole building consists of 8 big petal-shaped elements and 24 small ones, with the innovative design of its roof using the principle of “open-close rotation”. Each petal weighs 160 tons with the total weight equal to that of approximately 1,000 sedan cars. It takes about 20 minutes to open and close the roof. In 2018, the venue hosted the World Short-Course Swimming Championships before it was transformed into a tennis venue in 2019.

Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium

Seating: 18,000

Floor space: 74,470 square meters

Events: Basketball

Highlights: Together with the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Aquatic Sports Arena, it is designed to function as a two-in-one arena and features a unique streamlined shape with double layer roofs completely covered by silver metal panels and an architectural form resembling two spreading wings.

Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Aquatic Sports Arena

Seating: 6,000

Floor space: 53,959 square meters

Events: Swimming, diving, artistic swimming

Highlights: Together with the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Gymnasium, it is nicknamed the “Turning-into-Butterflies Dual Arena “based on an ancient Chinese folk story that portrays two lovers turning into butterflies in their afterlives.

The building, arguably the biggest of this kind in the world, also looks like two half cocoons. It used 25,000 tons of steel and 3D printing technology to produce each of the more than 20,000 steel components.

Huanglong Sports Centre Stadium

Seating: 51,971

Floor space: 103,338 square meters

Events: Football finals

Highlights: It is one of the venues for the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. After over two years of renovation starting in 2019, the stadium returned to operations with a brand-new look.

Huanglong Sports Centre Gymnasium

Seating: 8,000

Floor space: 24,489 square meters

Events: Gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics, trampoline

Highlights: A center-hung 360-degree, 206-square-meter LED videoboard was added to the gymnasium during the renovation.

Huanglong Sports Centre Swimming & Diving Centre

Seating: 2,938

Floor space: 48,442 square meters

Events: Water polo

Highlights: The exterior design resembles the ripples after a diver breaks the water. It overlooks the beautiful West Lake. Combined with the stadium, as well as the gymnasium nearby, it is a popular destination for local sport lovers.

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