by Dana Halawi
BEIRUT, Sept. 14 (Xinhua) -- Pierre Jalkh, president of the Lebanese National Olympic Committee, said Lebanon is keen to send the country's best athletes to the 2023 Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.
"We will be sending athletes who have good world rankings and have previously won medals in worldwide competitions," Jalkh told Xinhua.
Jalkh said around ten athletes will participate in the Asian Games this year, but Lebanon will send a delegation of 38 people, including trainers and administrators.
"We have 13 athletes who receive support from the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and priority is usually given to these people to participate in the games," said Jalkh, adding that the second priority goes to athletes who have achieved good results in 2022 and 2023 in global events.
Jalkh noted that Lebanese athletes will compete in shooting, judo, taekwondo, table tennis, swimming, archery, weightlifting and fencing.
Lebanon took a gold medal, a silver medal, and two bronze medals at the previous Asian Games in Jakarta in 2018, and Jalkh noted that the country's best chance of medaling will come in shooting, judo, taekwondo and weightlifting.
"I hope to be able to win medals in the coming games to prove that Lebanon can compete worldwide," he said, expressing his hopes to participate consistently in international games despite Lebanon's multiple crises.
However, Jalkh noted that Lebanon's basketball team will not take part in this year's Asian Games, as several team members are still suffering with injuries, and they have local commitments in October.
Jalkh also added that he expects the Asian Games in Hangzhou to be well organized, noting that China hosted a successful 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
"I believe the government of China is keen to offer something unique which shows the capabilities they have," he said.
"I expect everything to be excellent in Hangzhou. We can see this from the Winter Games that took place months ago as the organization was great, which, I believe, will be reflected in the upcoming games."
Jalkh, who will be joining the Lebanese delegation in Hangzhou, expressed his admiration for the mascots adopted at the 19th Asian Games.
Three sporty robots known as the "smart triplets" will serve as the mascots of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games.
"China is always keen to be creative in a way that reflects tradition and history," he said.