Jakarta, Aug 18 (UNI) Indonesia said “Selamat Datung” (Welcome) in a typically carnival fashion as it opened the 18th Asian Games with a ceremony that was splashed with the pulsating rhythms of the nation, its gripping culture and its famously colorful outlook to life.
For a nation recovering from a devastating earthquake and a capital that is a target of terror attacks, Jakarta showed exactly what it wanted to prove through the opening ceremony. We are a big nation capable of hosting an international event. Every resource that it used and the time and talent invested was worth the effort as the ceremony held everyone spellbound.
At the stroke of 7pm (Local Time ), the ceremonies commenced in the cavernous Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta.
The 45 minute formalities included the flame being brought into the stadium on its last journey. The flame was lit in New Delhi and travelled for a month through the southeast Asian archipelago before it arrived in Jakarta on Saturday.
Before being lit at the GBK stadium, the flame was kept at the Presidential Palace. The formalities were followed by the grand parade of athletes from 45 Asian nations into the stadium.
The 572 member Indian contingent was led in by ace Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra.
The unified Korean contingent received the biggest applause but expectedly it was the entry of the Indonesian contingent which brought the house down.
The ‘Ceremony Show’ as it was described by the organisers followed the parade of athletes. 75 minutes of pure magic unravelling on a ceremony stage that it in itself was unique.
The 120 metre long, 30 metre wide and 26 metre high was manually made by artistes from Bandung and Jakarta.
The stage was the arena for 5000 performers who put on a show with a mythological theme, choreographed by the Indonesian legends Denny Malik and Eko Supriyanto. A towering mountain served as the background, accompanied flora unique to Indonesia.
The highlight was the lilting music put together by popular Indonesian singers Anggun, Raisa, Tulus, Edo Kondologit, Putri Ayu, Fatin, GAC and Kamasean. Elegant, energetic and enthralling was the best description for the 75-minute show in which a 100 member orchestra conducted by Addie MS and Ronald Steven provided the musical charm of Indonesia.
With 17,000 athletes and thousands of officials from almost all the countries of the continent and several head of states gathered in this ancient Asian capital, and millions watching the telecast, Indonesia did not fail to capture the attention of the world.
The opening ceremony was an ideal start to what lies ahead for the athletes taking part in the Pan Asian multi sport event. Two long weeks of intense competition in 465 events in 40 sports disciplines with only the best winning gold and glory.
The lavish opening ceremony, inaugurated by President Joko Widodo, bodes well for what to expect from Indonesia in the next two weeks to come.
Earlier jam packed stadium went delirious as Joko Widodo entered the stadium entered the stadium driving his own motorcycle.
As fireworks exploded at the and lit the Jakarta skyline, Indonesia showed the continent how to party.
Indonesia hoped to drive away all the negativity, the gloom and doom the Games had attracted with the Opening Ceremony. It did exactly that. It showcased the finest aspects of the country in and awesome, unique style that came straight from the heart.
But for now, Indonesia can take a bow. It last staged an Asian Games in 1962 when Sukarno wanted to showcase a nation that had just won freedom. Now 56 years later, the country has spent around $2 billion to hold the Asian Games to reaffirm its place among the world’s emerging modern economies.
Interestingly South and North Koreans will change the flags they used for the opening ceremony. They marched under blue flag with a picture of the Korean Peninsula on it. However, there will be three different flags at the Athletes Village for the countries, consisting of a South Korean flag, a North Korean flag and the [unified] Korean flag,”
(Article authored by Harpal Singh Bedi)