The Asian Games are set to commence in Hangzhou, China, featuring a range of unique sports not commonly seen in other major competitions. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more unusual events in the 19th edition of the Asian Games.
Kabaddi, a team sport originating from India, witnessed a historic upset in 2018 when Iran ended India’s dominance by winning both the men’s and women’s tournaments at Jakarta. The game involves two teams of seven players, with a “raider” attempting to tag opponents without being tackled before returning to their own half. Each raid must be completed on a single breath, with raiders continuously chanting “kabaddi.”
Kurash, a sport developed in Uzbekistan, draws inspiration from ancient forms of wrestling in Central Asia. Wrestlers wear robes similar to those in judo and aim to throw their opponents off their feet. Uzbekistan showcased their dominance in Kurash at the 2018 Asian Games, winning five out of six gold medals.
Sepak Takraw, also known as kick volleyball, has been dominated by Thailand since its introduction at the 1990 Beijing Games. Thailand has secured 26 out of 39 gold medals in this sport native to Southeast Asia. Players use any part of their bodies except hands and arms to send a rattan ball into the opposing court.
Soft Tennis, originating from Japan, is played with a softer rubber ball and a lighter racket compared to regular tennis. It became an official Asian Games sport in 1994. South Korea has been the dominant force in Soft Tennis, winning 25 out of 41 gold medals.
Wushu, a collective term for Chinese martial arts, was introduced at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing. It consists of sanda (sparring) and taolu (routine-based) events. China has been the most successful nation in Wushu, winning 10 out of 14 gold medals in Jakarta 2018.
Xiangqi, a strategy board game similar to chess, originated in China. It represents a battle between two armies, with the objective of checkmating the enemy general. Xiangqi differs from chess in terms of the grid size, with a nine-by-ten grid compared to chess’s eight-by-eight grid. China excelled in Xiangqi at the 2010 Asian Games, winning four out of six medals, including gold in both the men’s and women’s competitions.
In conclusion, the Asian Games in Hangzhou will showcase a variety of unique sports, including Kabaddi, Kurash, Sepak Takraw, Soft Tennis, Wushu, and Xiangqi. These events offer a glimpse into the diverse range of sports and cultural traditions across Asia.
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