2006 Asian Games
Learn more about 2006 Asian Games
|XV Asian Games|
Slogan: "The Games of Your Life"
|Nations participating||45 (estimated)|
|Athletes participating||10500+ (estimated)|
|Opening ceremony||December 1, 2006|
|Closing ceremony||December 15, 2006|
|Officially opened by||Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani|
|Athlete's Oath||Mubarak Eid Bilal|
|Judge's Oath||Abd Allah Al-Bulooshi|
|Torch Lighter||Shiekh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani|
|Stadium||Khalifa Sports Stadium|
The 15th Asian Games, officially known as the XV Asiad, is Asia's Olympic-style sporting event that is being held in Doha, Qatar from December 1, 2006 to December 15, 2006. Doha will be the first city in its region and only the second in West Asia after Tehran in 1974 to host the games. There are 46 disciplines from 39 events scheduled to be contested.
 Bidding process
On November 12, 2000, the voting took place in Busan, South Korea, which was the venue for the 2002 Asian Games. The voting involved the 41 members of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and consisted of three rounds, each round eliminating one of the bidding cities. <ref name=one>MALAYSIA AMAZED AT LOSING ASIAN GAMES TO QATAR</ref> After the first round, New Delhi was eliminated with only 2 votes. The second round of voting, with three remaining candidates, gave a surprise result.
- Doha: 22
- Kuala Lumpur: 13
- Hong Kong: 6
Under the regulations of the OCA, a candidate which gains half of the available votes will automatically be selected as the host, and the remaining rounds of voting will be cancelled. When Doha gained 22 out of 41 votes this meant they were selected to host the 2006 Asian Games. Most of Qatar's votes came from the unanimous support from West Asian countries. <ref>People's Daily</ref>
After the major upset, Malaysia and Hong Kong expressed their disappointment. Malaysia said that the selection of Doha was ridiculous<ref name=one/> and that the selection of Doha was influenced by Qatar's background as a wealthy country.<ref>Choice of Qatar for Asian Games prompts cries of foul</ref>
 Torch relay
The torch relay has been integral to the Asian Games since 1958. The plans for the Doha 2006 torch relay were revealed by the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC) on January 20, 2006. <ref name=torch>Doha Asian Games torch relay route revealed</ref>
The relay itself started on October 8, 2006 with a brief ceremony at the Doha Golf Club named "Flame of Hospitality". <ref>Torch ceremony marks countdown to Games</ref> The rugged terrain of the island and surrounding rough coastline has led to the appearance of many wrecked dhows on the beaches of the island, most of them well preserved by the salt water and intense heat. With the involvement of over 3000 people, the torch is crossing 8 former Asian Games host countries and 4 Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) States. <ref name=torch /> The first pit stop was in New Delhi, India on October 11, 2006. In total the relay will pass over 15 countries and 23 cities all over Asia. The relay, which has a distance of 50,000 kilometres in 55 days is the longest relay in the history of the Asian Games.<ref name=torch />
Below is a list of countries and cities visited:
- India – New Delhi
- South Korea – Busan
- Philippines – Manila
- Japan – Hiroshima
- China – Beijing, Guangzhou, Macau SAR, Hong Kong SAR
- Indonesia – Jakarta
- Thailand – Bangkok
- Iran – Mashad, Esfahan, Tehran
- Oman – Salalah, Muscat, Sohar
- United Arab Emirates – Hatta, Sharjah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi
- Kuwait – Kuwait City
- Bahrain – Manama
The Doha Asian Games Organising Committee chose "Orry", a Qatari Oryx, as the official mascot of the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006. The Oryx had once become extinct in the wild, but thanks to preservation and conservation groups it has recently been reintroduced. The choice of Orry also sends a message of peace, commitment and fun at the Games. <ref>Mascot of Asian Games 2006</ref>
 Opening Ceremony
The Opening Ceremony of the Games was described by the media to be one of the most technologically spectacular multi-sports event ceremony.<ref>Doha Asiad off to spectacular start</ref> It was viewed by 50,000 spectators in the Khalifa International Stadium, and famous guests like the IOC's Jacques Rogge, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Syrian President Bashar Assad. <ref>Media fascinated by high-tech at Doha Asiad opening ceremony</ref> This opening ceremony was directed by David Atkins, who conducted the Sydney 2000 opener.<ref>Asian Games open with a festival celebrating the Gulf</ref>
The ceremony started with the welcome of Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani with the OCA chairman Sheikh Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah and his wife. After that, a 10 second countdown began to signal the starting of the opening ceremony. The message "peace upon to you" from a group of 2,300 young people with the Arabic greeting of "asslamualaikum" after the countdown. A group of children, lead by Nasser Khaled Al Kubaisi, then sang Qatar's national anthem and raised the national flag.
The first part of the show, called "The Journey Begins", tells about a young man called the "Seeker" leaving his family, and Nura, his love and beginning his discovery of Asia, guided only by the stars and his astrolabe. After encountering a fierce storm at sea, he was rescued by a giant falcon, landing him on safe ground where he continued his path to discovering the colourful history and cultures of Asia. The Angkor Wat, the Taj Mahal, the Temple of Heaven and Borobudur were among the important landmarks he passed. The Seeker was also treated to a multicultural presentation that displayed the cultures of different Asian regions. Nura, on the other hand, descended into the stadium with a very large piece of cloth trailing her, covering the entire eastern stands, and sang in Arabic, "Atone, Atone Oh Sea!" as she despairs, waiting for the arrival of her love. With his Asian brothers helping him in his way back to his homeland, the Seeker safely made it back to Nura, and invited all of Asia to celebrate their wedding.
The latter part of the cultural programme focused on the Seeker showing his son the Arab world's contributions to modern science in the past, the present and the future. Sixty-four horsemen also entered the stadium in the segment 'Tribute to the Desert Horseman.'
After the Athlete's Oath and Judge's Oath, as well as opening speeches and remarks were finished, delegates from the 45 countries and regions of Asia entered the stadium. For the third time after Olympics 2000 and 2004, North Korea and South Korea jointly entered the stadium under one flag. Performances from Hong Kong's Jacky Cheung, who sang "Together We Can", as well as India's Bollywood star Sunidhi Chauhan who sang "Reach Out" were a tribute to the athletes. Lebanon's Magida El Roumi and Spanish tenor José Carreras performed "Light the Way".
The most dramatic moment is when Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani rode his horse up the stairs to the top of the stadium to light up the giant cauldron in the form of a giant astrolabe. The flame was transferred electronically to the Aspire Tower just outside the stadium, and fireworks soon went off, signalling the start of the 2006 Asian Games.
Despite the spectacular opening ceremony, which received high praise, there was some criticism by some delegations and athletes. Heavy rain poured down just after the end of opening ceremony, and many believed that the organizers did not have plans to deal with it, creating a chaotic situation. Chef de Mission of the Philippines, Butch Ramirez, said that some of the members of the Philippine delegation, including athletes, where soaked in the rain because the organizing officials did not allow them to re-enter the covered stadium for shelter; instead they had to stay in the heavy rain for more than 30 minutes. He goes on to say that, the breakdown in transportation protocols due to the rain caused the athletes to rush to the nearest bus station, exposing them to rain. Ramirez said that he himself was a victim of pushing and shoving due to this chaos, and that because of it, he suffered from an asthma attack. <ref>Rains spoil ‘best’ opening ceremony</ref>
Malaysian athletes also expressed unhappiness. According to the athletes, the organizing officials allowed only the Qatari team to exit the stadium and held back the other 44 nations inside. Also, the disarrangement of transportation queues meant that they had to wait in the wet, freezing, and tiring conditions till 2 a.m., when they were finally sent to the Athletes' Village. <ref>But the Malaysians end up wet and unhappy</ref>
A Japanese journalist said while a few buses and bus stops were prepared around the stadium, the organisers also didn't install shelters to protect people waiting in these stations. <ref>Transport woes open for Asiad</ref>
In fact the transportation was not as troublesome as some reports indicated. For example, while organizers projected that it would take about 1 hour and 40 minutes to clear the stadium of delegations and athletes, it actually took only 1 hour and 15 minutes, with the last delegations arriving at the Athletes' Village before 1:00 a.m. Additionally, the Qatari team, which stood in the middle of the Stadium field during the Ceremonies, left in the middle of delegations, neither first nor last. The public spectator car parks were nearly empty less than an hour after the event.
As of this writing, there has been some confusion concerning the many volunteers working the games; as in many not showing up to their assignments, too many showing up at events or locations, and some complaining that they were being made to do work other than what they previously agreed to do, as in VIP hostesses being told to pick up trash outside on the streets. Many volunteers have been complaining about the lack of transportation needed to take them to their locations, as most are guest workers and have no privately owned vehicles. They are authorized free use of taxis, but they are saying the taxis are not stopping for them, despite tbe fact that they have been given vouchers by organisers. After a volunteer briefing/Opening Ceremony rehearsal at Khalifa Stadium, hundreds of volunteers were stranded as they were unable to find transportation back into the city, many not getting to their homes until several hours later.
The sport events to be contested at the 2006 Asian Games are listed below. Officially there are 46 disciplines from 39 sports in contention. All events listed will start after the opening ceremony except Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Football (Soccer), Table tennis, and Volleyball, which will start before the opening ceremony.
Click on each sport for detailed schedules and results.
 Participating NOCs
 Medal tally
As of 18:50, 3 December 2006 (UTC +3)
 Suspensions and withdrawals
The Philippines, winners of four gold medals in previous Games, will not be participating in the basketball competition due to their suspension by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA). The political interference and conflict between the Basketball Association of the Philippines (BAP) and Philippine Olympic Committee (POC) is the cause of the suspension.<ref>The politicization of Philippine basketball</ref> FIBA will only agree to lift the suspension if the two organisations agree to work together.<ref>Fiba defers lifting of RP ban</ref> While the suspension remains, the team is not allowed to participate in any FIBA-sanctioned events.
India will not take part in the weightlifting events after the government failed to pay a USD$50,000 fine to the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) to lift their suspension. The IWF suspended India's weightlifting team from any sports events after they failed doping tests during the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. The suspension could be extended to 2008 if India will not pay their fine.<ref>India's weightlifters can't pay, won't play at Asiad</ref>
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The Football competition lost four teams due to withdrawals and a suspension, which resulted in some rescheduling of the format and draws. Following the withdrawal of Maldives women's football team in early November, the women's football competition was forced to redraw to ensure both groups had an equal number of teams.<ref>[http://www.
gulf-times.com/site/topics/article.asp?cu_no=2&item_no=115520&version=1&template_id=49&parent_id=29 Men’s and women’s football draw held]</ref> Not much later, Turkmenistan announced their withdrawal due to the lack of options available in Qatar.<ref>Turkmenistan soccer team withdraws from Asian Games</ref> Yemen also withdrew because the team was unable to afford a drug test after some of their players were accused of doping.<ref>Yemen withdrew following doping concerns - AFC</ref>
On November 23, 2006, FIFA announced Iran's suspension from international football, and the team was taken out of the Doha competition.<ref>Iran out of football after FIFA ban</ref> However, following a deal reached between FIFA and the Iran Football Federation three days later, Iran is free to take part in the events.<ref>Iran Reaches Deal With FIFA - Can Attend Asian Games</ref> The return of Iran saw Tajikistan, which replaced them in the second round, dumped from the competition. <ref>Iran handed Asian Games reprieve</ref>
India is the only country to make big changes to its team close to the opening ceremonies. On November 22, 2006, the Indian sports ministry shocked the Games organisers by dropping 8 of the 32 events they had previously announced that they would be contesting in the Games. The dropped events are soccer, basketball, handball, sepak takraw, triathlon, ten-pin bowling and rugby 7s. The events were dropped due to the lack of medal hopes and to cut costs. As a result, only 387 athletes will be sent to Doha instead of the original 589 proposed by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). <ref>Govt cuts jumbo Asian Games squad</ref>
Some of the teams in the dropped events are expected to compete despite the removal of government support; the Indian soccer team has confirmed that they will participate under a "no cost to the government basis", as they did during the 1998 and 2002 Games.<ref>It's official, footballers will have a ball</ref> The manager of the soccer team has insisted that the team will participate even without government approval.<ref>We will participate in Asian Games, insists India manager</ref>
The Indian basketball team is definitely out of the games; the men's team failed to show for their match against Bahrain in the first preliminary round and the match was forfeited by the referee. The women's team is also likely to miss the Games.<ref>Basketballers barred from Doha by own govt</ref>
The IOA has requested to reinstate the sepak takraw and fencing teams, and the request has been accepted by DAGOC. The IOA will also attempt to fund the other teams defunded by the government.<ref>India returns to compete in sepaktakraw, fencing in Asian games</ref>
Palestine withdrew from the volleyball tournament due to the travelling difficulties caused by the closure of the Gaza Strip border. Indonesia and Turkmenistan have withdrawn from the tournament, for unknown reasons, just hours before their first preliminary round match. <ref>Palestine quits men's volleyball event at Doha Asiad</ref>
The 2006 Asian Games will broadcast worldwide by several television broadcasters. Confirmed broadcasters include:
 External links
es:Juegos Asiáticos de 2006 fr:Jeux asiatiques de 2006 ko:2006년 아시안 게임 id:Asian Games 2006 ms:Sukan Asia 2006 ja:2006年アジア競技大会 th:เอเชียนเกมส์ 2006 zh:2006年亞洲運動會 zh-classical:第十五屆亞洲運動會 zh-yue:2006年亞洲運動會