Russia opens ‘Children of Asia’ games

Published : 29 Jul 2022 07:56 PM

Russia has formally opened the 2022 edition of the ‘Children of Asia’ games, which is being held in Vladivostok. A message from Russian President Vladimir Putin was among those to be read out to participants at the Opening Ceremony on Thursday.

This year’s event is the seventh edition of the international sporting showpiece and runs from July 28 to August 8.

It will bring together around 1,500 athletes from 14 Asian countries and various Russian regions to compete across 19 different sports, according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko.

The games, which are for competitors aged between 13 and 16, are held with the support of the Russian president and government agencies, as well as the Olympic Council of Asia. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UNESCO serve as patrons.

Thursday’s colorful Opening Ceremony followed an equally vibrant show at the Athletes’ Village one day previously.

In an address read out on his behalf on Thursday, President Putin welcomed the participants and praised the competition as promoting Olympic principles, developing international humanitarian cooperation, and strengthening friendships and personal ties.

Russian Sports Minister Oleg Matytsin, who participated in the torch relay, said the games provided his country with another chance to showcase its hospitality.

“The ‘Children of Asia’ provides another opportunity to be together, to show the hospitality of the Far East and our country. The flame of the games, as a symbol of unification, emphasizes that together we become stronger,” Matytsin said.

The event was first held in Yakutia in 1996 to honor the centenary of the modern Olympic movement.

Since then, more than 10,000 young athletes have taken part in the past six editions, including a number of future Olympic champions. Russia insists that it is open to international sporting cooperation despite the bans imposed by numerous federations in response to the military operation in Ukraine. Russian officials have decried the bans as discriminatory and contrary to the principles of sport being free from political influence.