The 2018 Asian Games opening ceremony marked the beginning of the 18th edition of the Asian Games at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia. The amazing ceremony was witnessed by over 50,000 audiences at the venue, along with the 16,000 athletes.
The event will go down in the history books as one of the most extravagant and vibrant opening ceremonies in the history of the Asian Games for many reasons. Let us have a look at some of the highlights of the $50 million opening ceremony.
Indonesia President enters on a bike
Taking a dig at their own country’s traffic problems, the Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, was shown entering the stadium on a motorcycle. A pre-recorded video was shown on the giant screen of the stadium. The President was shown grabbing a motorcycle after his convoy was stuck in the infamous traffic jams of Jakarta.
The video shows the helmet-clad biker (assumed to be the President) doing stunts while on his way to the stadium. He was riding through the narrow lanes of Jakarta and also directing traffic for the school children.
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Posted by Wicaksono Wicaksono on Saturday, 18 August 2018
Korean athletes march under one flag
The athletes of North Korea and South Korea entered the stadium under one flag, repeating the feat from the 2002 and 2006 Asian Games in Busan and Doha respectively and the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
The two nations marched under the Korean Unification flag, with the South Korean women’s basketball player Lim Yung-hui being the flag bearer. The two Korean countries will also compete as one team for three events – lightweight rowing, dragon boat racing and women’s 5×5 basketball.
Not only the athletes from the two nations walked in together, North Korean Vice Premier Ri Ryong Nam and South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon walked i together and jointly waved atthe crowd with much cheer.
Kuwait contingent enters under their own flag
The Kuwaiti athletes marched into the ceremony under their own flag and kit and not as the Independent Asian Athletes. Kuwait Olympic Committee was suspended by the International Olympic Committee in October 2017 after the interference from the Government and conflicts with the sports law.
However, the suspension was lifted just two days before the opening ceremony allowing the 24 Kuwaiti athletes to compete under their own flag. The Olympic Council of Asia has warned Kuwait to stop the Government interference to prevent the third exile.
Neeraj Chopra leads the Indian contingent at 2018 Asian Games Opening Ceremony
Commonwealth Games gold medal winner javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was the flag bearer for the Indian contingent at the 2018 Asian Games opening ceremony. Neeraj is participating in his maiden Asian Games.
The Indian players arrived in blue suits and a small Indian flag in each of their hands. With a total of 572 athletes participating in 36 sports, the Indian contingent starts their medal hunt from the day one itself.
Indonesian artists light up Jakarta
The opening ceremony also saw various dance and singing performances from artists all over Indonesia. Starting with the ‘Saman’ dance, which was performed by over 2200 school children to welcome the athletes to their nation, the musical performance was highlighted by Indonesian singer Anggun Cipta Sasmi. More than 3600 performers danced and entertained the crowd with various dance numbers highlighting the cultural diversity of Indonesia.
Other musicians who performed at the opening ceremony were Raisa, Edo Kondologit, GAC, Putri Ayu, Tulus, Fatin and Kamasea.
The ceremony came to an end when the torch, which flew across various cities of Indonesia was brought into the stadium and former Indonesian badminton player Susi Susanti lighting the cauldron to mark the opening of the game. An amazing display of firecrackers were added to mark the end of the extravagant ceremony.
After 56 years of hosting the Asian Games for the first time, Jakarta has surely outdone itself and has raised the bar for the next host of the 2002 Asian Games, Hangzhou.