Tianjin, China is set to host the 2013 East Asian Games this year, a gathering that will showcase some of the continent's best athletes in a wide variety of sports and events.
Hong Kong was the host city in 2009, and over 2,000 athletes from nine countries and regions took part in 262 total events across 22 sports. Tianjin is expected to eclipse those numbers in 2013, leading to the idea that this could be the biggest and best East Asian Games to date.
Various venues have been prepped, the schedule has been released and all that separates us from Sunday's opening ceremony is a few more hours of waiting.
We'll prepare you for all the upcoming action below.
What: Sixth East Asian Games
When: Oct. 6 (Opening Ceremony)-Oct. 15 (Closing Ceremony)
Where: Tianjin, China
Main Venue: Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium
Sports Included: 24 (16 Olympic sports)
Total Events: 289
|China||Gold (five times)|
|Japan||Silver (five times)|
|South Korea||Bronze (five times)|
|North Korea||Fourth (1993)|
|Hong Kong||Fourth (2009)|
|Chinese Taipei||Fourth (2005)|
China has dominated at the East Asian Games over the years, winning the the first five collective gold medals.
Oddly enough, Japan and South Korea have finished second and third, respectively, behind China in all five previous gatherings. North Korea, Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei have all knocked at the medal podium door, but have never broken the threshold.
Macau, Mongolia and Guam have lingered at the bottom of the final standings in past years.
*Independent Olympic athletes will also compete in various events. Information above via the 2013 East Asian Games' official website.
Complete Schedule Breakdown
|Opening Ceremony||Oct. 6|
|Athletics (Track and Field)||Oct. 7-9|
|Women||Oct. 9-11, 13-14|
|Dance Sport||Oct. 7-8|
|Dragon Boat||Oct. 13, 15|
|Football||Men||Oct. 6, 8, 10, 12, 14|
|Women||Oct. 7, 9, 11|
|Hockey||Men||Oct. 7, 9, 11, 13|
|Women||Oct. 6, 8, 10, 12|
|Soft Tennis||Oct. 10-14|
|Table Tennis||Oct. 7-12|
|Closing Ceremony||Oct. 15|
All dates based on Tianjin local time.
Top Performers to Watch
Ye Shiwen, China, Swimming
The 17-year-old swimming star headlines the group of athletes the host country has selected for the 2013 East Asian Games, and looking at the various names on that list, that's saying something.
As noted by USA Swimming Stats, Ye is hardly all hype:
Ye Shiwen(CHN) won Oly gold in the Women's 400 IM in 2012. She has 4 of the Top10 performances for CHN. See the list: pic.twitter.com/pbOOo0SQPU— USA Swimmming Stats (@USASwimStats) September 29, 2013
Ye set the Olympic record in the 200-meter individual medley at the 2012 Olympic Games, and followed that up by setting a world record at 400 meters in the same event. Needless to say, she won gold both times.
After a disappointing finish at the 2013 World Championships, Ye rebounded and was back on the podium in both categories at the Chinese National Games in September.
She'll be expected to repeat her Olympic and latest performances in Tianjin this year.
Chang Ming-Huang, Chinese Taipei, Athletics
A veteran at age 31, Chang has come on strong over the last five years as a real contender in the shot put division. He currently holds the national record in Taiwan with a distance of 20.58 meters.
Since finishing 40th at the 2008 Olympics, his resume includes top-three finishes in the event at Asian Indoor Games, Asian Games and East Asian Games. He finished first at the 2011 Asian Championships.
Fresh off a second-place finish at the 2013 Asian Championships, Chang will be motivated and eager to avenge his runner-up finish to Zhang Jun at the 2009 East Asian Games if he makes the trip to Tianjin for Chinese Taipei.
Annie Au, Hong Kong, Squash
Au won the Asian Individual Championships in May, but she has her sights set on bringing home some crucial points for Hong Kong in its quest to finish on the podium for the first time at the East Asian Games.
"Winning the Asians was really a delightful moment for me,” said Annie, as reported by Kng Zheng Guan and R. Patrick of the Star. “I’d say that’s one of my best achievements ... a personal record, in fact.
"But my real target is the East Asia Games as the Hong Kong government has given us a target – to bring home the gold medal."
It will take some serious motivation for Au to win matches in Tianjin, but it appears her government has made that necessary boost readily accessible in preparation for her event.
The left-handed squash star has been playing well of late, and will look to continue to do so on the grandest of stages.
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