• Wednesday, Sep 26, 2018
  • Last Update : 02:18 am

Celebrating diversity, and differences, through Asiad opening

  • Published at 11:47 pm August 18th, 2018
Asiad
View from the opening ceremony of the Asian Games in Jakarta Saturday AFP

The dazzling ceremony at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium began with the Indonesian president Joko Widodo riding a bike through visual display on two giant screens on top of the two sides of the stadium

With the presence of thousands of athletes from more than 45 Asian countries, the continent’s biggest multi-sports event, the 18th Asian Games, began with a colourful ceremony showcasing Indonesia’s traditional culture and diversity.

The dazzling ceremony at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium began with the Indonesian president Joko Widodo riding a bike through visual display on two giant screens on top of the two sides of the stadium. 

There was a huge cheer from the audience after the 57-year old president’s transition from the screen to the reality.

The event ended with spectacular lightenings and fireworks after Indonesia’s 1992 Barcelona Olympics gold medalist, shuttler Susi Susanti carried the Games torch to light the flames at the peak of the mountain that was displayed on the background of the stage.

After the president’s appearance in front of the audience and a studio-visual display of 1962 Asian Games, hosted by Indonesia for the first time, more than 2,000 high-school dancers in square shape entertained the audience with the traditional saman dance.

The athletes of 45 participating countries started to walk into the arena through the left side of the stage with the dancers on both their sides.

Weightlifter Mabia Akter Shimanta carried the red and green flag when the Bangladesh contingent entered the venue after Afghanistan and Bahrain athletes. Athletes from football, shooting, beach volleyball and rowing were missing from the Bangladesh contingent that wore blue blazers.  

Bangladesh Olympic Association member AK Sarkar was in front of the contingent as the chef de mission Abul Hossain returned to Bangladesh following his mother’s death Thursday.

A historic moment was witnessed when the athletes of South Korea and North Korea marched together into the arena for the first time in the Asian Games, much like they did it during the last Winter Olympics. 

Indonesian athletes sporting red blazers entered the scene at the end, receiving the warmest applause from the crowd.

A minute’s silence was observed in memory of the victims of the Lombok earthquake after the national anthem was played. The whole stadium sang the national anthem in unison. 

The Indonesian president inaugurated the event with a short speech. 

Indonesia Olympic Association president Erick Thohir, also the chairman of Italian football outfit Internazionale, proudly talked about the diversity of Indonesia and Asia and urged to celebrate the differences and diversities. 

Indonesia’s culture and diversity were displayed through a number of brilliant performances, using the unique stage and the background that resembled mountains, waterfalls and the country’s traditional plants and flowers.