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18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide

 

In a drizzling rain, at 21.00 hrs on Sunday, 2 September 2018,  the huge torch that had lit the sky above Jakarta’s  Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex, -  the main venue of the Games for two weeks since 18th  August, -  was slowly dimmed and extinguished, officially closing this most memorable 18th Asian Games, hosted by Indonesia in Jakarta and Palembang.

Although the Games have ended, the memories, the dynamic images, songs and sounds of these past two weeks have continued to echo for days around the world.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source:  https://asiangames.antaranews.com

The world’s most important media were full of praise, stunned by the unexpected spectacular Opening Ceremony. At the center of the stadium stood a huge 26 meters tall “mountain” decorated with a 17 meters running “waterfall”; the spectacular multimedia features that placed  Indonesia’s beautiful beaches inside the stadium,  bewitchingly portrayed the natural wonders that spell: Indonesia. On this magnificent set, over 7,000 dancers, Indonesia’s top artists, and musicians all gave their best, while spectacular fireworks magnificently brightened up Jakarta’s night sky. Indonesian gold medalists then walked up the volcano to light the torch that burst out as a flaming volcanic eruption under bursts of firework. 

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source:  https://asiangames.antaranews.com

Earlier, a video showed Indonesia's President Jokowi in a limousine approaching the stadium for the Opening Ceremony, when he got stuck in a snarling traffic jam. The President then stepped out of the car changing to a motorbike that “flew” over astonished onlookers, racing across the city, to finally appear in person in the Stadium.  The crowd was ecstatic! The feat, - obviously made by a stuntman, - triggered the first surprise and augured well for the success of the Games.  

By the close of the Asian Games,  Indonesian Athletes presented 31 gold medals to the country, placing Indonesia in 4th position, - after China, Japan, and South Korea , - the first ever South East Asian country to reach this level.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source: https://asiangames.antaranews.com

The closing ceremony, although simpler was in its own way equally spectacular. This event was particularly dedicated to all participating athletes and millennials, including the 30,000  volunteers who made sure that all athletes and supporters were given the best hospitality.  The event was turned into an evening of top singers who brought everyone to dance to popular tunes on Indonesian, India and Korean hit songs. Indonesian singers celebrities like Isyana Saraswati, Bunga Citra Lestari, Afgan, Siti Badriah, Gigi, and RAN, India’s top star Siddarth Slathia and Korea’s iKon and Super Junior, together brought the house down.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source: https://asiangames.antaranews.com

As explained by the Chairman of INASGOC (Indonesia Asian Games 2018 Organizing Committee), Erick Tohir, whereas the opening ceremony was a celebration of Indonesia to the world, focusing on Indonesia’s identity as a nation, the closing ceremony was to celebrate an even more closely knit Asia.  

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source:  https://asiangames.antaranews.com

This time around,  President Jokowi spoke from a tent at the earthquake-stricken evacuation camp in Lombok, sending his closing remarks through a televised broadcast. The President thanked all who participated in the success of the event: “Asian Games 2018 has reached its close, but the energy and spirit of Asia will not be extinguished. Thank you to all country contingents. This is the real spirit of Asia. We are united to bring Goodness to the world,” said Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source:  https://asiangames.antaranews.com

It was only 3 years ago that Indonesia offered to host the 19th Asian Games in  Jakarta and Palembang when Vietnam retreated from hosting the event due to economic reasons.  The successful hosting of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang has turned the eyes of the world to Indonesia who has succeeded in hosting the event with stunning achievements despite the relatively limited time available for its preparation.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source: https://asiangames.antaranews.com

On his side, In his closing speech, the President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, said: “Thank you Jakarta! Thank you, Palembang! You did it! You have realized the energy of Asia. Hailing the event as a “historical success”, Al Sabah looking at the rain, added: “The sky is crying because we are very sad today as we must leave your beautiful country. We are going back with a lot of memories; wonderful memories of great games, great venues, fierce competitions, courage felt throughout the games and the friendliness of the Indonesian people. We will never forget you; you will always be in our hearts.” And as a unique twist, the OCA President clasped his hand above his head making a heart-shaped gesture expressing genuine love.

The torch, flag, and symbols were then officially handed back to OCA and given on to China as host of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2022.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source:  https://asiangames.antaranews.com

The Amazing Energy of Asia’s Athletes

A total of 40 sports were featured at Asia’s largest multi-sport event involving 15,000 athletes and officials from 45 countries.  South and North Korea also teamed up in a number of sports. The total number was higher than those in the previous 17thAsian Games held in Incheon, South Korea which featured 36 sports involving 13,000 athletes and officials.  As expected, China emerged the overall Champion, taking home 132 gold, 92 silver, and 65 bronze medals. Japan came second with 75 gold, 56 silver, and 74 bronze medals, followed by South Korea in third place with 49 gold, 58 silver, and 70 bronze medals.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source:  https://en.asiangames2018.id

While exceeding all expectations and initial targets, host Indonesia successfully took the 4th position with 31 gold, 24 silver, and 43 bronze medals. This achievement is far beyond initial targets as Indonesia achieved the highest number of Asian Games medals since Ga, es re was first held in New Delhi, India, in 1951, when the year country was one of only seven participating countries.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source: https://asiangames.antaranews.com

Asian Games 2018 also saw five world record-breaking achievements. Two world records in the Mixed Team Compound 50m and the Mixed Team Recurve 70m were broken by the Korea Team. A swimming new world record was also made by Chinese swimmer, Liu Xiang, and a thirds is a new weightlifting world record by Iranian lifter, Sohrab Moradi. Chinese Taipei Shooter, Kunpi Yang also equaled the men’s trap shooting world record and became the first at the Games to either break or equal the world record performance.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source:  https://en.asiangames2018.id

More than just making their presence, a number of world’s sports superstars from Asia graced the competitions with their exceptional skills. These included Chinese swimming superstar Sun Yang, Chinese Sprinter Su Bingtian, Filipino-American Basketball player Jordan Clarkson who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA, Premiere League’s Tottenham Hotspur Winger Son Heung Min, Japan’s badminton sensation Kento Momota, Singapore butterfly ace Joseph Schooling, Malaysia’s squash queen Nicol David, China women’s volleyball linchpin Zhu Ting and, Hong Kong’s cycling star Sarah Lee Wai-sze, and more. The closing was also attended by digital millionaire Jack Ma, who came on stage to invite all to the  19th Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source:  https://asiangames.antaranews.com

It was the exceptional performances of these huge names along with over 10,000 athletes with their special skills and determination that have given the Asian Games a massive shot of credibility. Combining this with the undisputedly astonishing performance of Indonesia as host country, Asian Games has emerged as the greatest multisport event in the world, second only to the Olympics.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source:  https://asiangames.antaranews.com


“Indonesia Shows It’s the Energy of Asia”, wrote the New York Times.

18th ASIAN GAMES A RESOUNDING SUCCESS : Indonesia Praised Worldwide
Image source:  https://asiangames.antaranews.com

Echoing similar sentiment expressed by most world media, the South China Morning Post wrote: “With hosts Indonesia putting on a world-class show, the Asian Games has truly emerged as the second greatest multisport event in the world. Not only in terms of a number of participants but also in the quality of athletes and organizational ability.”

 

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