2006 Asian Games
The 2006 Asian Games (Arabic: دورة الألعاب الآسيوية 2006, romanized: Dawrat al-ʼAl‘ab al-Asīawīah 2006), officially known as the XV Asiad, was an Asian multi-sport event held in Doha, Qatar from December 1 to 15, 2006 with 424 events in 39 sports featured in the games. Doha was the first city in its region and only the second in West Asia (following Tehran in 1974) to host the games.
|Host city||Doha, Qatar|
|Motto||The Games of Your Life|
(Arabic: لقاء العمر, romanized: Liqa' alum)
|Events||424 in 39 sports|
|Opening ceremony||December 1|
|Closing ceremony||December 15|
|Officially opened by||Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani|
Emir of Qatar
|Officially closed by||Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah|
President of the Olympic Council of Asia
|Athlete's Oath||Mubarak Eid Bilal|
|Judge's Oath||Abd Allah Al-Bulooshi|
|Torch lighter||Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani|
|Main venue||Khalifa International Stadium|
|Part of a series on|
It was the first time that all 45 member nations of the Olympic Council of Asia took part in this event. Also, Eurosport broadcast the event, marking the first time that the European continent could watch this Asian sporting event. 21 competition venues were used for the Games including the newly constructed Aspire indoor sports complex. The opening and closing ceremonies of the Games were held at Khalifa International Stadium. Trampoline discipline of gymnastics, and the sports of chess and triathlon made their debut at the event.
The final medal tally was led by China followed by South Korea and Japan with host Qatar at ninth place. Tajikistan, Jordan and United Arab Emirates won their first ever Asian Games gold medals. 7 world and 23 Asian records were broken during the games, while South Korean swimmer Park Tae-hwan was announced as the most valuable player.
On November 12, 2000, voting for the 2006 venue took place during the 19th Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) General Assembly held in Busan, South Korea. The voting involved the 41 members of the Olympic Council of Asia and consisted of three rounds, each round eliminating one of the bidding cities. After the first round, New Delhi was eliminated, with only two votes. The second round of voting, with three remaining candidates, gave Doha as the result.
|2006 Asian Games bidding results|
|City||NOC||Round 1||Round 2|
Under the regulations of the OCA, a candidate which gains more than 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.
After the major upset, Malaysia and Hong Kong, China expressed their disappointment. Malaysia said that the selection of Doha was ridiculous and that the selection of Doha was influenced by Qatar's economic wealth.
Development and preparations
Qatar spent US$2.8 billion on preparing venues, including a major upgrade to the 50,000-seat Khalifa Stadium from its original 20,000-seat capacity and the construction of the Aspire indoor sports complex, the world's largest indoor multi-sports dome and the athletes' village which turned into a part of Hamad Medical City which equipped with hospitals and laboratories after the games.
Volunteering programme of Doha 2006 Asian Games which began in July 2004 targeted 12,000 volunteers and over 30,000 applications were received. The volunteers wore clothing which included jacket, polo shirts and trousers which they collected from the Uniform Distribution and Accreditation Centre at the Al-Gharafa SC. Volunteers also wore accreditation card which gain them access to specific venues and buildings around the site.
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 on 20 January 2006. It engaged EFM Global Logistics to handle all the logistics for the relay.
The torch of the 2006 edition weighs 1.5 kilograms and is 72 centimetres tall. Its design was inspired by the curvaceous horns of the Arabian Oryx, featuring maroon and white colours which are the colours of the Qatari national flag. It symbolises the unifying spirit of competition and friendship throughout Asia.
The relay itself started on 8 October 2006 with a brief ceremony at the Doha Golf Club where the torch was lit with a flame named "Flame of Hospitality". With the involvement of over 3,000 people, the torch crossed eight former Asian Games host countries and four Gulf Cooperation Council member states. The torch travelled back to Doha held by Sheikh Joan Bin Hamad Al-Thani, and the journey around the city itself started on 25 November 2006 and lasted until the opening ceremony of the Games. The first pit stop was in New Delhi, the birthplace of the Asian Games on 11 October 2006 where the torch's flame was fused together with the Eternal Asian Games Flame at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium. During the fourth stop in Hiroshima on 21 October, the torch's flame was fused together with the Peace flame at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park. In total the relay passed through 13 countries and 23 cities, visited several landmarks such as Taj Mahal and the Great Wall of China along its way. The relay, which totaled a distance of 50,000 kilometres in 55 days, is the longest in the history of the Asian Games.
The emblem of the 15th Asian Games is an image of an athlete in motion which represents fearless manner of a sportsperson in face of challenges and obstacles. The colours used in the emblem represent Qatar's landscape. Yellow represents the crescent-shaped sand dunes of the desert, blue represents the calm sea of the Gulf and red represents the sun and warm spirit of Asia.
The Doha Asian Games Organising Committee chose "Orry", a Qatari Oryx, as the official mascot of the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006. It was unveiled at the waterfront of the Qatari capital on 1 January 2005 in conjunction with the start of the 700-day countdown to the games. He represents energy, determination, sportsmanship spirit, commitment, enthusiasm, participation, respect, peace and fun and is described as a great sportsman.
The medals of the games' were designed by Dallah advertising and Gulf Media agency. Around 3,000 medals in gold, silver and bronze were made for the games. They featured Orry, the official Games mascot and Al Zubara Fort on the obverse and games logo on the reverse.
To promote the games, the organisers built a countdown clock and a giant statue of the games' mascot, Orry the oryx at the Corniche in the city centre. In addition, they also decorated the city with large-scale building wraps, banners and 30 life-size versions of the mascot in a variety of different sporting poses. Touchscreen kiosks were set up at hotels, malls and businesses in the city to provide users with Qatar tourism and the games' information and details.
On 3 April 2005, Qatar Airways signed a US$10 million agreement with the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC) to become the event's official airline. The airline painted seven of its Airbus A330 in three distinct Asian Games liveries namely blue, red and yellow and produced a special 80-page guide on the sporting event in its in-flight magazine "Oryx". On 10 January 2006, Samsung Group's flagship company Samsung Electronics signed an agreement to become the prestige partner, while on 13 July 2006, American multinational conglomerate General Electric signed an agreement to become the Official Partner. Pocari Sweat became the official sports drink of the event, while Tissot became its official timekeeper. Samsung Group's subsidiary and Korean clothing manufacturer, Bean Pole was the official apparel company of the games, with uniforms been one of their event's products. Qatar Telecommunications (QTel, now Ooredoo) and QNB Group were the event's official telecom provider and official bank company
The Games used mostly new venues within the city. There were a total of 23 venues for the games, with 21 of them being competition venues and others being Main Media Centre and Athletes' village. After a major upgrade, Khalifa Stadium had a new running track, a new tensile fabric roof structure on its western seating and an arch on its east part. A temporary velodrome was built at Aspire Academy for track cycling events.
The Athletes’ Village was built on a 330,000 square metres site in the city centre, which had 32 residential buildings with 811 five-bedroom apartments for athletes and 45 for Chef-de-Missions and could accommodate 11,500 athletes and team officials.
Doha International Airport was expanded with the cost of US$1 billion in the run-up to the games to handle increasing air traffic volume and facilitate an estimated arrival of 10,500 athletes from 45 Asian countries, while Qatar's state-owned public transport service, the Qatar Transport Company (Mowasalat) provided bus, taxi and limousine services in the city to spectators, athletes, officials and volunteers during the games.
The opening ceremony was viewed by 50,000 spectators in the Khalifa International Stadium, and famous guests such as the International Olympic Committee's Jacques Rogge, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and Syrian President Bashar Assad. The opening ceremony was directed by David Atkins, who conducted the 2000 Summer Olympics opener.
The opening ceremony presented the culture of the Arab World as well as other Asian cultures and their histories. Several musical artists such as Hong Kong's Jacky Cheung, India's Bollywood star Sunidhi Chauhan, Lebanon's Majida El Roumi and Spanish tenor José Carreras performed at the ceremony. The ceremony ended with the lighting of the torch on the Aspire Tower by Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani, son of the emir and captain of the Qatar equestrian endurance team.
Participating National Olympic Committees
All 45 OCA members participated in the Games including Iraq which returned to compete after its suspension was lifted. Iraq last competed at the 1986 Asian Games and was suspended from 1990 until 2006 due to the Gulf War. The number in parentheses indicates the number of participants that the National Olympic Committee contributed.
|Participating National Olympic Committees|
The sport events contested at the 2006 Asian Games are listed below. Officially there are 46 disciplines from 39 sports in contention. All events listed started after the opening ceremony except badminton, baseball, basketball, football, table tennis, and volleyball, which had preliminaries before the opening ceremony. Trampoline discipline of gymnastics, and the sports of chess and triathlon made their debut at the event.
In the following calendar for the 2006 Asian Games, each blue box represents an event competition, such as a qualification round, on that day. The yellow boxes represent days during which medal-awarding finals for a sport were held.
|OC||Opening ceremony||●||Event competitions||1||Gold medal events||CC||Closing ceremony|
|November / December||27th
|Daily medal events||20||28||28||36||36||29||31||33||29||36||36||41||39||2||424|
|November / December||27th
The closing ceremony featured the Arabic stories of a thousand years ago. It started with the same young boy as the "Seeker" in the opening ceremony. He flew on a magic carpet to a book of Arabian stories. "A Thousand and One Nights" featured stories such as Haroun Al-Raschid and the Dervish, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, Sinbad the Sailor and Aladdin and his Marvellous Lamp. The show used an array of dancers, horses, and special effects to portray the different stories. During the show, the games cauldron in the form of astrolabe was extinguished. After that, the segment of "Land of the Oryx" was shown with dances being performed.
All 45 nations' athletes entered the stadium after the show's end. Park Tae-hwan was announced as the best athlete of the Games, having won seven medals, three of them being golds from the swimming competitions.
After that, the OCA President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah officially announced the Games closed and passed the OCA flag to the mayor of Guangzhou, Zhang Guangning, to represent Guangzhou as the host of the next Asian Games in 2010. As per tradition, the Qatari Armed Forces personnel lowers the OCA flag, which is carried by the students of Aspire Academy out of the stadium. Later, the Chinese flag is raised to the Chinese National Anthem.
A special 10 minutes show in the final part of the closing ceremony showed a new China, known as "Oriental Charm", which featured Chinese culture was presented. This was followed by the theme song of the Game "Triumph of the One" sung by Lea Salonga from the Philippines. Afterwards, fireworks displayed around the stadium signifying the conclusion of the Games.
The top ten ranked NOCs at these Games are listed below. The host nation, Qatar, is highlighted.
Host nation (Qatar)
|Totals (38 NOCs)||428||423||542||1393|
A joint venture between Host Broadcast Services and IMG Media named the Doha Asian Games Broadcast Services (DAGBS), now International Games Broadcast Services (IGBS), was set up in September 2004 and served as the games' host broadcaster. It distributed 2,000 hours of the Games content to its international rights holders. The International Broadcast Centre was constructed in Qatar International Exhibition Centre (QIEC). Viewers in the European continent watch the event for the first time with Eurosport as the region's broadcaster.
Concerns and controversies
South Korean equestrian athlete Kim Hyung-chil died after falling off his horse on the morning of December 7 during the cross country competition which took place in the rain. The accident occurred at jump number eight during the cross-country stage of the three-day eventing competition. After the horse, named Bundaberg Black, rolled over him, he was taken to Hamad General Hospital, with his death later confirmed by the organizing committee. Kim died at around 10.50 am, shortly before noon Qatar time. During the accident, he suffered from severe trauma to his head, neck and upper chest. Kim's horse suffered a serious injury during the fall and is euthanised after the accident.
According to South Korea National Olympic Committee president Kim Jung Kil, sources on the course said that the horse mistimed his jump in the wet conditions and slipped. South Korean officials are asking for an inquiry to determine if mismanagement or rain was the cause of the death.
"In my professional opinion, neither the weather nor the footing had any bearing on this accident. If the horse falls, it's like two tons of bricks falling on you. There is nothing you can do about it," said Andy Griffiths, the Games event's technical overseer. Christopher Hodson, vice president of the International Equestrian Federation, said the course was fit to ride when a full investigation into the accident was conducted.
This is the eighth death linked to the 2006 Asian Games, and the first involving an athlete. The accident came four days after the road accident which killed Jagadammamdhu Sudanan Thampi, a 60-year-old female volunteer from India.
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, were soaked in the rain because the organising 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 went 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.
According to one IOC insider who arrived back at his hotel soaked, this incident hurt the chances of Doha hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics, which Doha applied for on 25 October 2007, and lost on 4 June 2008 when they were eliminated from the pool. Transportation was one of the crucial factors involved in the decision process. Doha would have its own metro system in 2019.
Iran threatened to boycott the event after a brochure was published in December 2004, in which the Persian Gulf was misnamed.
The list of athletes who failed the doping test during the Games:
- Myanmar's Than Kyi Kyi, the 48 kilogram weightlifter, tested positive for a banned diuretic.
- Oo Mya Sanda, also of Myanmar, silver medalist for 75 kilogram weightlifting, tested positive for a metabolite.
- Uzbekistan's Elmira Ramileva, the 69 kilogram weightlifter, tested positive for an anabolic steroid.
- Alexander Urinov, also of Uzbekistan, the 105 kilograms weightlifter, tested positive for cannabis.
- Iraq's Saad Faeaz, a bodybuilder, disqualified from the Games after a banned steroid was found in his luggage in Doha International Airport.
- Bahrain's Sayed Faisal Husain, silver medalist for 70 kilogram bodybuilding tested positive.
- Korea's Kim Myong-Hun, silver medalist for 90 kilogram bodybuilding tested positive.
- India's Santhi Soundarajan, silver medalist for women's 800 metre run, was officially stripped of her medal after she failed a gender test.
The Games' organizers faced significant bed shortages due to the record number of more than 13,000 athletes and officials who attended the 2006 Games. The Athletes' Village had space for only 10,500 people and was not large enough to accommodate the record amount of attendees. To resolve the problem, organizers contracted with three cruise ships to provide sleeping quarters.
Last minute withdrawals
The Football competition lost three teams due to withdrawals and a suspension, which resulted 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. Not much later, Turkmenistan announced their withdrawal due to the lack of options available in Qatar. Yemen also withdrew because the team was unable to afford a drug test after some of their players were accused of doping.
India made big changes to its team close to the opening ceremonies. On November 22, 2006, the Indian sports dropped eight of the 32 events they had previously announced that they would be contesting in the Games. The dropped events were basketball, handball, sepak takraw, triathlon, ten-pin bowling and rugby sevens. The events were dropped due to the lack of medal hopes and to cut costs. As a result, 387 athletes were sent to Doha instead of the original 589 proposed by the Indian Olympic Association.
While volleyball also had three teams withdraw from the Games, Palestine withdrew due to the travelling difficulties caused by the closure of the Gaza Strip border. Indonesia and Turkmenistan also withdrew from the tournament, for unknown reasons, just hours before their first preliminary round match.
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