2018 Asian Games sparkles into life with colourful opening ceremony

Saturday, 2018-08-18 23:15:39
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A view of the fireworks during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta, Indonesia, August 18, 2018. (Photo: asiangames2018)
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NDO - A spectacular pyrotechnic show lit up the Jakarta skyline on Saturday night as Indonesia welcomed the continent’s elite athletes in the opening ceremony for the 18th Asian Games (Asiad 18).

The biggest sporting event on the continent was officially opened at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium at 7pm local time with a breathtaking fireworks display and traditional Indonesian performances.

About 4,000 dancers and famous Indonesian singers participated in the three hour ceremony.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo made an unorthodox and dramatic entrance to the stadium, riding a motorbike onto the stage before officially launching Indonesia’s second hosting of the Asiad.

Indonesia is known as a multicultural country and the host of the 18th Asiad has shown it through a rich and varied range of dances, songs, stage and decorations.

Following the traditional dance performance by Tari Saman showing the diversity of Indonesian culture, a parade of 6,000 athletes representing more than 11,000 competitors from countries and territories competing in the Asiad 18.

The Republic of Korea and Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s sports delegations marched under a Korean unification flag.

Vietnamese athletes entered the stage during the opening ceremony. Vietnam has sent more than 350 athletes to compete in 30 official events at the Asiad 18.

Popular Indonesian singer, Via Vallen, took to the stage to perform the official theme song of the Asiad 2018 "Meraih Bintang" (Reach for The Stars), expressing a desire for victory and celebrating the spirit of competition in all athletes.

The grand spectacle was an impressive blend of lights, music, dances and stage presence.

Over 50,000 spectators at Bung Karno Stadium stood up for the Indonesian national anthem as the Indonesian flag was raised. It’s the second time for Jakarta to host the Asiad, after the fourth edition was held in the Indonesian capital in 1962.

The stadium also observed a minute’s silence in memory of the 460 victims of the earthquakes that rocked the resort island of Lombok this month.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced the official opening of the 2018 Asiad. The Indonesian leaders also sent greetings to athletes who came to Indonesia from all over the continent to compete in the Games.

The centrepiece of the set was a huge model of a volcano around which 3,600 performers danced in dramatic and colourful costumes.

The eye-catching ceremony combined trend with tradition.

And the most anticipated moment was yet to arrive. Former Olympic badminton champion Lucia Francisca Susi Susanti carried the Games’ torch to the summit of the volcano and set off a spectacular display of fireworks.

The Asiad torch remains alight during the next two weeks with exciting sports competition coming. The event, attracting more than 11,000 athletes, will run through September 2.

Photo: asiangames2018.id