What does 19th Asian Games mean to expats in Keqiao?
As the 19th Asian Games draw near, Hangzhou and other five co-host cities in Zhejiang are gearing up for the upcoming sporting gala. All kinds of activities are being held to make the atmosphere of the Asian Games more vibrant.
On August 16, Shaoxing Keqiao Yangshan Sport Climbing Centre held an activity in this pursuit. Dozens of expatriates living in Keqiao District of Shaoxing were invited to visit the Asian Games venue. What does the Asian Games mean to them in this trip?
Asian Games venue defines Chinese impressive infrastructure
Shaoxing Keqiao Yangshan Sport Climbing Centre serves as the competition venue for sport climbing during the Hangzhou Asian Games. Its construction commenced on April 1 in 2021 and passed the acceptance on February 26 in 2022. It consists of competition areas and warm-up zones, with 2,100 seats in total.
The Centre features a fantastic constructure design in shape of "silkworm cocoon" while seen outside, which speaks for Shaoxing's industrial characteristics as China's textile capital. It is awarded as "Asian Games Venue with Architectural Characteristics" by the Hangzhou Asian Games Organising Committee.
Sahar Essaieh from Tunisia, who has lived in China for six years, is a fresh businesswoman in Keqiao. Knowing the Centre had been built in less than one year, she was amazed by the speed and quality of building. This trip gives a justification on Chinese impressive infrastructure from her side.
Sporting fever could be seen everywhere
Sahar is also impressed by table tennis mania in China. "I often see elderly uncles playing table tennis and they do a great job there. Table tennis in China is like a sport for all, everyone is a pro," said Sahar. She confessed table tennis is definitely a priority if given a ticket to Hangzhou Asian Games to watch the game on the site.
Polish college teacher Anna hailed a lot about the changes in the neighborhood brought by the sporting fever. She is really into new parks in Keqiao. She likes walking through these parks with her friends after dinner. The Asian Games mascots seen in every corner of Keqiao made her feel like the Hangzhou Asian Games is something more than a sporting event.
Hamza Sefiani, who comes from Morocco, is an entrepreneur in Keqiao. He lauded that there are many good sports venues available in Keqiao. He likes to play football and often organises his friends to play football at the nearby stadium. Football is a very popular sport in Morocco, and after coming to Keqiao, he can also enjoy this sport again since he has enough friends to play with and good venues to play in.
Local citizens star as a host well
Anna told the reporter she made up her mind to learn Chinese well because she enjoyed talking with sweet locals. One day, she was just taking bus to an unfamiliar place. She talked to the bus driver in English, but his English was not good enough to catch all words. Instead of skipping it, the driver turned to the translation tool for help. It turned out that Anna understood better owing to the driver's kindness.
For such kindness, Sahar has been there. As a businesswoman, she needs to communicate with locals about all procedures related to sales. She is so glad to figure out that locals like shopkeepers are always there to give a hand in need without hesitation.
It cannot be said that a place like Shaoxing's Keqiao has totally transformed because of holding the Asian Games events, but there is no doubt that the sporting gala has made the city better and speeded up its pace to an international metropolis favored by expats from different cultures.
At the end of the visit, Sahar took many pictures to mark this awesome trip, and looked forward to visiting the Asian Games venue more often.
It's reported that the venue is open to the public every day, and the public can enter the venue after making an appointment in advance. And there is an open day for the public every month when visitors are welcome to participate in special activities. Up to now, there have been tens of thousands of people into the venue.
"According to the requirements of the event, today is the last open day before the Games. But the venue will resume being open to the public after the Games. After all, the venue is built not just for those participants at the Games, but also for those who love sports. Everyone is granted the right to share the dividends brought by the Games," the personnel in charge of the venue said.