As athletes sweat and strain on the track and in the pool, a more cerebral and certainly more sedentary set of competitors got down to business on Tuesday (August 21) at the Asian Games.
Eighty-five-year-old Kong Te Yang, the oldest competitor in the Asian Games, is set to play in one of the opening rounds of the card game bridge which is making its debut in Jakarta.
“Bridge the game itself is very much like life, so many uncertainties, so many things to learn, so many techniques,” Yang told Reuters on the eve of the opening.
Yang, who started playing bridge six decades ago, laughed when asked whether bridge should be counted as a sport.
“I suggest to be broader, broader in spirit and broader in mind, because the mind can eventually see our humanity and the limits of our physical strengths,” he said.
With the host of the games allowed to pick a number of additional sports, one of the driving forces behind including bridge has been 78-year-old’s Indonesian billionaire Michael Bambang Hartono.
Hartono said it took them three years to persuade the Olympic Council of Asia to add bridge to the Asian Games as it is deemed to be ‘not Islamic’.
“It is controversial,” Hartono, who has been playing the games since he was six years old, said after his practice. “But at the Olympics there’s chess, which is also brain work.”
If Hartono has his way, the players will meet again in Tokyo in 2020.
“We dream that bridge will be a competition too at the Olympics. This is our next fight,” he said. — Reuters