Guangzhou all set for Asian Games

first_imgIt’s not for nothing the world is in awe of China for whatever new it does virtually every day. As this huge port city braces for the challenge of hosting the high profile Asian Games, the signs of progress and prosperity can be seen all around.Participants perform during a rehearsal for the opening ceremony of the Asian Games to be held in Guangzhou on Friday.From the bustling Baiyun International Airport to the brand new Asian Games complex is almost an hour-long drive. It criss-crosses through heavy traffic which moves at a fast pace and reflects how the host city has prepared to handle the big event starting on November 12.The flowing highways leading to the Asian Games complex is one journey which actually captures how China has meticulously prepared for an event of this stature.It would seem as a smaller one in comparison to the Olympics held in Beijing in 2008 but in reality, the Asian Games has grown up to be a big event.If one were to compare Guangzhou with how New Delhi hosted the Commonwealth Games, every facet is different.The word corruption cannot be heard here nor do you hear of bickering between agencies involved in the various works, with close to 40 new venues made for a plethora of sporting events.It’s a task which has been completed so well that no where one finds post-construction debris piled up or last-minute coats of paint being applied.For a country where there is virtually no scope for organisational glitches, more than big personalities involved in the work, the faces of volunteers are so different.advertisementBack in 2008, much as volunteers in Beijing tried hard to speak in English, it was a struggle for the non-Chinese to deal with them. From something as simple as asking for a subway route or giving instructions to a cab driver, unless you had addresses written in Chinese, it was a struggle.Now, in a matter of two years, the change is huge and stark. Cheerful volunteers in Guangzhou are not the only ones who are conscious they have to speak English to be understood and be helpful.Even those who have been hardcore ‘Chinese’ realise that the importance of English, and are making an effort to converse in one of the most widely spoken languages around the globe.The signage around the Asian Games sub-city is mostly in English and for people who have been coming to this country repeatedly, this is a big change. Old timers recall how in 1990, when Beijing hosted the Asian Games, it reflected the old China.People then were actually hesitant to interact with people from outside the country. Today, there is no such hesitancy in Guangzhou as from the young college kid — who has taken it as a challenge to be a volunteer – to a waiter in a hotel, the desire to speak English is pronounced.For those who have watched sport for decades and seen China grow, they swear this country is dead serious about not just producing champions but also how it wants to be seen as a nation which can host any big event.Undoubtedly, after the success of the Olympics in 2008, holding an Asian Games is being seen as something simple.But the bigger picture is how China could again emerge as one of the strong contenders for hosting yet another edition of an Olympics in the future.At a time when India doesn’t know whether or not to bid for the 2019 Asian Games, China’s message to the world is loud and clear.If it comes to the 2024 Olympics or the ones in 2028, they may well again throw their hats in the ring.And this is why the world sees China with admiration and awe. It’s a big achievement for a nation to hold Olympics and Asian Games within a gap of two years. China sure is a superpower today.last_img

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