More than three decades after it first hosted the inaugural Asian Games way back in 1951, the Asian version of Olympics returned to the Indian capital in 1982. The 9th Asian Games was held in New Delhi from November 19 to December 4, 1982.
Though there had been only 489 competitors for the inaugural Games at the same venue, the Asian Games had gone from strength to strength to attract 3,411 competitors for the second Asian Games on Indian soil. There were 21 disciplines, compared to only six that were there at the first ever Games.
South Korea made full use of its position as the hosts of the 10th Asian Games as a rehearsal for the 1988 Seoul Olympics. It was South Korea’s first of the three occasions as the Asian Games host, conducting the Asian sports extravaganza in Seoul from September 20 to October 5, 1986, with 3,345 sportsmen and women from 27 countries vying for honours in 269 events under 25 disciplines. Judo and taekwondo were the newly added sports.
It was one of the most successful events performance-wise as 83 Asian records and three world records were broken and two world records equalled during the Games. Attending the opening ceremony were the Korean President,the Japanese Prime Minister, the OCA President Sheikh Fahad Al Sabah, the IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch and officials from various international sports organisations as Seoul made every effort to show the Asian strength before the 1988 Olympics.
What was unique in the 1986 Asian Games was that most sports facilities, stadia and gymnasiums were all constructed according to the requirements of the Olympic Games. China sent a massive 385-member contingent that won a record 94 gold medals, holding sway over Asia for the second time.
The Indian woman athletic star P.T. Usha won four gold medals, becoming the biggest winner of gold medals in athletics. Hamada Ahmad from Bahrain defeated his Japanese opponent and won a gold medal in men 400m hurdle. Hong Kong bowling player Chen Ju Hong Won the first gold medal for Hong Kong in the history of the Asiad. Chinese gymnast Li Ning won 4 gold medals and silver medals, to steal the limelight. Japanese hammer player Murobushi Shgenobu became champion for the fifth successive time since the sixth Asian Games.
Sri Lanka has been starved of Asian Games medals since W. Wimaladasa’s golden double in long distance running. But sprinter Sriyantha Dissanayake ended that lean run with a silver and a bronze medal in men’s 100m and 200m when the Chinese capital of Beijing hosted the 11th edition of the Games in 1990. That signalled athletic revival in Sri Lanka which ultimately took the country yo an Olympic medal after 52 years.
The 11th Asian Games was held from September 22 to October 7 in 1990 in Beijing, the capital of China, with 4,655 competitors from 37 countries clashing for honours. There were 308 events in 27 sports, with softball, sepak takraw, wushu, kabaddi and rowing as newly-added sports, and baseball and soft tennis as demonstration sports.
With the largest number of sports ever seen in the Asiad, the 11th Asian Games was the first large scale international sports meet to be held in the history of China. Seven world records were bettered, 89 Asian records broken, 189 Asian Games records and one world record, 11 Asian records and 20 Asian Games records were equalled as the Games were filled with many record breaking performances.
The 12th Games was held in Hiroshima from October 2 to 16, 1994, Japan with the number of competitors rocketing to 6,828 and also the number of participating countries to 42. The 1994 Hiroshima Games had 34 disciplines and the countries newly independent from the former Soviet Union too took part. They broke the Beijing records and became the largest event ever in the history of the Asian Games.
The 13th Asian Games were held from December 6 to December 20, 1998 in Bangkok, with Thai capital hosting the Games for the third time. However,it was the first time that Thailand bid for the event after it shouldered the two postponed hosting rights in 1970 and 1978.
The official emblem of the 13th Asian Games elements from Asia in general and Thailand in particular. It is based on the letter A, representing Asia and Athletes. The Maha Chedi, or pagoda shape, represents Thailand, in particular. The pinnacle of the Maha Chedi symbolises the knowledge, intelligence and athletic prowess of Thailand’s forefathers, which are second to none. The top is part of the OCA logo.
The official Mascot of the 13th Asian Games was an elephant, a distinctive animal which has lived with the people of Thailand for many generations and is universally admired for its strengths and nobility. The mascot’s name Chai-Yo, meaning pleasure, gladness, success, unity and happiness in Thai.
China strengthened its grip in the Asian Games series with the richest harvest - 129 gold, 78 silver and 67 bronze medals in a bag of 274 medals. South Korea finished second with 65 gold, 46 silver and 53 bronze medals while Japan came third in the final medals standings with 52 gold, 61silver and 68 bronze medals.