Asian Games

Asian Games
Abbreviation Asiad
First event 1951 Asian Games in New Delhi, India
Occur every Four years
Last event 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta-Palembang, Indonesia
Purpose Multi-sport event for nations in Asia

The Asian Games, also known as Asiad,[1] is a continental multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. The Games were regulated by the Asian Games Federation (AGF) from the first Games in New Delhi, India, until the 1978 Games. Since the 1982 Games, they have been organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), after the breakup of the Asian Games Federation.[2] The Games are recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and are described as the second largest multi-sport event after the Olympic Games.[3][4]

In its history, nine nations have hosted the Asian Games. Forty-six nations have participated in the Games, including Israel, which was excluded from the Games after their last participation in 1974.

The most recent games was held in Jakarta and Palembang, Indonesia from 18 August to 2 September 2018. The next games are scheduled to Hangzhou, China between 10 and 25 September 2022. Since 2010, host cities are contracted to manage both the Asian Games and the Asian Para Games, in which athletes with physical disabilities compete with one another. The Asian Para Games are held immediately following the Asian Games.


Prior formation

Before the Asian Games were held, an event known as the Far Eastern Championship Games existed which was first mooted in 1912 at a location set between the Empire of Japan, the Philippines, and China. The Far Eastern Games were first held in Manila in 1913 with 6 participating nations. Ten more Far Eastern Games were held until 1934. Against the backdrop of the second Sino-Japanese War in 1934, in the face of Japan's insistence on including the Manchu Empire as a competitor nation in the Games, China announced its withdrawal from participation. Consequently, the Far Eastern Games scheduled for 1938 were cancelled. The organization was ultimately discontinued.


After World War II, a number of Asian countries became independent. Many of the newly independent Asian countries desired the formation of a new type of competition whereby Asian dominance was not expressed through violence, but instead strengthened through mutual understanding. During the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, a conversation between sportsmen from China and the Philippines raised the idea of restoring the Far Eastern Games. However, Guru Dutt Sondhi, the Indian International Olympic Committee representative, did not believe that restoration of the Far Eastern Games would sufficiently display the spirit of unity and level of achievement taking place in Asian sports. As a result, he proposed to sports leaders the idea of having a wholly new competition  – which came to be the Asian Games. This led to an agreement to form the Asian Athletic Federation. A preparatory committee was then set up to draft the charter for this new body. On 13 February 1949, the Asian Athletic Federation was formally inaugurated in New Delhi, alongside the name Asian Games Federation, with New Delhi announced as the first host city of the Asian Games which were scheduled to be held in 1950.[5][6]

Crisis, reorganization, expansion

The first Asian Games opening ceremony

Starting in 1962, the Games were hit by several crises. First, the host country Indonesia, refused to permit the participation of Israel and Taiwan due to political and religious issues. As a result, the IOC removed its sponsorship of the Games and terminated Indonesia as one of the IOC members.[7] The Asian Football Confederation (AFC),[8] International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) and International Weightlifting Federation (IWF), also removed their recognition of the Games.[9][10]

In 1970, South Korea dropped its plan to host the Games allegedly due to national security crisis, however, the main reason was due to financial crisis, forcing the previous host Thailand to administer the Games again in Bangkok using funds transferred from South Korea.[11] Prior to the Games, Japan was asked to host the Games, but declined due to Expo '70 in Osaka.[12] This edition also marked the first time the Games had a television broadcasting throughout the world.[13] In Tehran, in 1974, the Games formally recognized the participation of China, North Korea and Mongolia. Israel was allowed to participate despite the opposition from Arab world, while Taiwan was permitted to continue taking part (as "Chinese Taipei") even though its status was abolished in general meeting on 16 November 1973 by Games Federation.[14]

Prior to 1978 Games, Pakistan cancelled its plan to host the Games in 1975 due to financial crisis and political issues.[15] Thailand offered to help and the Games were once again held in Bangkok. However, like in 1962, Taiwan and Israel were refused the participation by Games Federation, amid political issues and security fears.[16] Several governing bodies protested against the ban, like IAAF, threatened to bar the participating players from 1980 Summer Olympics,[17] this caused several teams to withdraw prior to the Games.[18]

Following this series of crises, the National Olympic Committees in Asia decided to revise the constitution of the Asian Games Federation. A new association, named the Olympic Council of Asia, was created in November 1981 excluding Israel.[19] India was already scheduled to host the 1982 Games and the OCA decided not to drop the old AGF timetable. The OCA formally supervised the Games starting with the 1986 Asian Games in South Korea.[20] In the succeeding Games, Taiwan (Republic of China) was re-admitted, but was forced by the People's Republic of China to compete under the name Chinese Taipei.[21]

In 1994, the Games included the former republics of the Soviet Union: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan for the first time. It was also the first time that the Games had been held outside the capital city of the host country.[22] However, Iraq was suspended from the Games due to the Persian Gulf War in 1990, while North Korea boycotted the Games due to political issues. It was also marred by the death of Nareshkumar Adhikari, the chief of Nepalese delegation during the Games' opening ceremony.[23]

The 1998 Games marked the fourth time the Games had been held in Bangkok, Thailand. The fourth opening ceremony occurred on 6 December, compared to 9 December for the previous three. All four games were opened by King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The date of the closing ceremony was 20 December, like the previous three games hosted by Thailand.


The Asian Games Movement uses symbols to represent the ideals embodied in the Asian Games charter. The Asian Games flag has four editions.


All 45 members affiliated to the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) are eligible to take part in the Games.

According to membership in the OCA, transcontinental Kazakhstan participates in the Asian Games but Egypt does not, participating in the All-Africa Games instead. Various countries participating in the European Games rather than the Asian Games are partially or fully in Asia: Turkey, Russia (major parts in Asia); Azerbaijan, Georgia (almost completely in Asia); Cyprus, Armenia, Israel (fully in Asia).

In history, 46 National Olympic Committees (NOCs) have sent competitors to the Games. Israel has been excluded from the Games since 1976, the reason cited as being due to security reasons.[24] Israel requested to participate in the 1982 Games, but the request was rejected by the organizers due to the Munich massacre.[25] Israel is now a member of the European Olympic Committees (EOC) and competes at the European Games.

Taiwan, Palestine, Hong Kong, and Macau participate in the Asian Games according to membership in OCA. Due to its continuing ambiguous political status, Taiwan participates in the Games under the flag of Chinese Taipei since 1990. Macau NOC is allowed to compete as one of the NOCs in Asian Games, despite not being recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for participation in the Olympic Games.

In 2007, the President of OCA, Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, rejected proposal to allow Australia to participate in the Games. He stated that while Australia would add good value to the Asian Games, it would be unfair to the Oceania National Olympic Committees (ONOC).[26] Being members of ONOC, Australia and New Zealand participates in Pacific Games since 2015. This motion was mooted again in 2017 after Australia participation in 2017 Winter Games as they are in discussions of become full Asian Games member from 2022 or 2026.[27] However Australian Olympic Committee announced that Australia will be allowed a small contingent of athletes for 2022 Games as long as the qualification for Summer Olympics event are through the Asia, like basketball and volleyball.[28]

Only seven countries, namely India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Singapore and Thailand have competed in all editions of the games.

List of Asian Games

Edition Year Host City Host Nation Opened by Start Date End Date Nations Competitors Sports Events Top Placed Team Ref.
I 1951 New Delhi  India President Rajendra Prasad 4 March 11 March 11 489 6 57  Japan (JPN) [29]
II 1954 Manila  Philippines President Ramon Magsaysay 1 May 9 May 18 970 8 76  Japan (JPN) [30]
III 1958 Tokyo  Japan Emperor Hirohito 24 May 1 June 16 1,820 13 97  Japan (JPN) [31]
IV 1962 Jakarta  Indonesia President Sukarno 24 August 4 September 12 1,460 13 88  Japan (JPN) [32]
V 1966 Bangkok  Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej 9 December 20 December 16 1,945 14 143  Japan (JPN) [33]
VI 1970 Bangkok  Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej 9 December 20 December 16 2,400 13 135  Japan (JPN) [34]
VII 1974 Tehran  Iran Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi 1 September 16 September 19 3,010 16 202  Japan (JPN) [35]
VIII 1978 Bangkok  Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej 9 December 20 December 19 3,842 19 201  Japan (JPN) [36]
IX 1982 New Delhi  India President Zail Singh 19 November 4 December 23 3,411 21 147  China (CHN) [37]
X 1986 Seoul  South Korea President Chun Doo-hwan 20 September 5 October 22 4,839 25 270  China (CHN) [38]
XI 1990 Beijing  China President Yang Shangkun 22 September 7 October 36 6,122 27 310  China (CHN) [39]
XII 1994 Hiroshima  Japan Emperor Akihito 2 October 16 October 42 6,828 34 338  China (CHN) [40]
XIII 1998 Bangkok  Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej 6 December 20 December 41 6,554 36 377  China (CHN) [41]
XIV 2002 Busan  South Korea President Kim Dae-jung 29 September 14 October 44 7,711 38 419  China (CHN) [42]
XV 2006 Doha  Qatar Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani 1 December 15 December 45 9,520 39 424  China (CHN) [43]
XVI 2010 Guangzhou  China Premier Wen Jiabao 12 November 27 November 45 9,704 42 476  China (CHN) [44]
XVII 2014 Incheon  South Korea President Park Geun-hye 19 September 4 October 45 9,501 36 439  China (CHN) [45]
XVIII 2018 Jakarta-Palembang  Indonesia President Joko Widodo 18 August 2 September 45 11,300 40 465  China (CHN) [46]
XIX 2022 Hangzhou  China 10 September 25 September Future event [47]
XX 2026 Nagoya  Japan 18 September 3 October Future event


The average for edition of events by edition of the Asian Games is of nearly 260 events with 24 sports by edition. Fifty one sports, spanning 39 different disciplines and nearly 400 events, have been part of the Asian Games program at one point or another, including the 2018 Games in Indonesia. The edition where the largest number of events was the Guangzhou 2010 games, where 476 events in 42 sports were disputed.The number of events varies according to edition and the demands of the local organizing committee, along with those of the host country.It was established in 2011, that the Games program would respect the eventual changes to the Olympic Games program along with this, eight extremely popular sports in Asia are in the program, plus up to 7 chosen by the local organization.[48][49]

ArcherySince 1978
BadmintonSince 1962
BaseballSince 1994
Board games2006–2010
Bowling1978, 1986, since 1994
BoxingSince 1954
CanoeingSince 1986
Contract bridge2018 only
Cue sports1998–2010
Cycling1951, since 1958
Dancesport2010 only
Dragon boat2010 and 2018
Equestrian1982–1986, since 1994
Fencing1974–1978, since 1986
Field hockeySince 1958
GolfSince 1982
GymnasticsSince 1974
HandballSince 1982
JudoSince 1986
KabaddiSince 1990
KarateSince 1994
Martial art sports2018 only
Paragliding2018 only
Pencak Silat 2018 only
Modern pentathlon1994, 2002, since 2010
Roller sports2010 and 2018
RowingSince 1982
Rugby sevensSince 1998
Sailing1970, since 1978
Sepak takrawSince 1990
ShootingSince 1954
Sport climbing2018 only
Softballsince 1990
Soft tennissince 1990
Squashsince 1998
Synchronized SwimmingSince 1994
Table tennis1958–1966, since 1974
Taekwondo1986, since 1994
Tennis1958–1966, since 1974
TriathlonSince 2006
VolleyballSince 1958
Water poloAll
Weightlifting1951–1958, since 1966
WrestlingSince 1954
WushuSince 1990


Aquatics DivingAll
Synchronized SwimmingSince 1994
Water poloAll
Baseball BaseballSince 1994
SoftballSince 1990
Basketball BasketballAll
3x3 basketballsince 2018
Board games Chess2006–2010
Canoeing Slalom canoeingSince 2010
Sprint canoeingSince 1990
Traditional boat race2010 and 2018
Cycling BMX racingSince 2010
Mountain biking1998–2002, since 2010
Road cycling1951, since 1958
Track cycling1951, 1958, since 1966
Equestrian Dressage1986, since 1994
Endurance2006 only
Eventing1982–1986, since 1998
Jumping1982–1986, since 1994
Tent pegging1982 only
Gymnastics Artistic gymnasticsSince 1974
Rhythmic gymnasticsSince 1994
TrampolineSince 2006
Martial art sports Jujitsu2018 only
Kurash2018 only
Pencak Silat2018 only
Sambo2018 only
Wushu2018 only ¹
Mechanical sports Jetski2018 only
Paragliding Paragliding2018 only
Roller sports Artistic roller skating2010 only
Roller speed skating2010 and 2018
Skateboarding2018 only
Rugby union Rugby union1998–2002
Rugby sevensSince 1998
Tennis Tennis1958–1966, since 1974
Soft tennisSince 1994
Volleyball VolleyballSince 1958
Nine-a-side volleyball1958–1962
Beach volleyballSince 1998

Medal count

Of the 46 National Olympic Committees participating throughout the history of the Games, 43 nations have won at least a single medal in the competition, leaving three nations: Bhutan, Maldives and Timor-Leste yet to win a single medal. 38 nations have won at least one gold medal (only Japan and India have done so at every Asian Games), while Japan and China became the only two nations in history to emerge as overall champions.[50]

1 China (CHN)14739947203187
2 Japan (JPN)103210379853054
3 South Korea (KOR)7456638272235
4 Iran (IRI)179181197557
5 Kazakhstan (KAZ)155158244557
6 India (IND)154202315671
7 Thailand (THA)132175278585
8 North Korea (PRK)110144179433
9 Chinese Taipei (TPE)99144276519
10 Indonesia (INA)91120235446
Totals (10 nations)41703818425612244

Most valuable player award

The most valuable player (MVP) award was introduced since 1998 Games in Bangkok, Thailand. Below is the list of winners:

Year Athlete Sport Ref
1998 Japan Koji Ito Athletics [51]
2002 Japan Kosuke Kitajima Swimming [51]
2006 South Korea Park Tae-hwan Swimming [52]
2010 China Lin Dan Badminton [53]
2014 Japan Kosuke Hagino Swimming [54]
2018 Japan Rikako Ikee Swimming [55]

Centennial Festival

On 8 November 2012, the OCA decided at its 31st General Assembly in Macau to create a special multi-sport event called Asian Games Centennial Festival in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Oriental Games (later became Far Eastern Championship Games).[56] OCA awarded the Philippines the hosting rights as it was the same host 100 years ago. The event was originally scheduled to be held in Boracay Island, Malay, Aklan on 27 to 29 November 2013 but due to the events surrounding Typhoon Haiyan, it was moved to January 2014.[57]


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