The Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games could be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, it is reported ©Getty Images

There is growing speculation that the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games will be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

News agency Agence France-Presse, citing an unnamed Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) official, reports that the multi-sport event could be moved from September 10 to 25 to new dates in 2023.

Numerous international sporting events in China have been cancelled during the pandemic due to China implementing strict COVID-19 restrictions, which have included the country's borders largely being closed to foreigners.

The Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games represented a rare exception to this, but was held within a closed-loop system which restricted participants from interacting with the general Chinese public.

The latest uncertainty over Hangzhou 2022 comes as China's largest city, Shanghai, battles the nation's worst outbreak of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with residents facing weeks of restrictions.

Shanghai reported 12 deaths yesterday, its highest daily number to date.

Hangzhou is 110 miles away from Shanghai.

Hangzhou 2022 says all 56 competition venues are ready for the Asian Games ©Getty Images
Hangzhou 2022 says all 56 competition venues are ready for the Asian Games ©Getty Images

insidethegames has contacted the OCA and Hangzhou 2022 for comment on the status of the Asian Games.

The OCA has previously had to delay events in China due to the pandemic, with the Shantou 2021 Asian Youth Games now not due to take place until December of this year and the Sanya 2020 Asian Beach Games pushed back until at least 2023. 

Consecutive postponements have also moved the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Thailand from 2021 to 2023.

This month, Hangzhou 2022 organisers said all 56 competition venues for the Games have been completed and promised to publish a COVID-19 protocol for the Asian Games similar to what was made available before Beijing 2022.

Hangzhou is due to be the third Chinese city to host the Asian Games, following Beijing in 1990 and Guangzhou in 2010.

The Chengdu 2021 World University Games are still scheduled to go ahead from June 26 to July 7, but this event also looks under serious threat due to the COVID-19 situation.