Colourful closing ceremony for 18th Asian Games

The closing ceremony of Asian Games 2018 took place in Jakarta Sunday. Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal, who guided her team to the sliver medal, was India’s flag-bearer for the closing ceremony.

Thousands of athletes in ponchos marched in heavy rain at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium at the close of a two-week tournament featuring 40 sports.

Riding high on the Games’ success, President Joko Widodo has announced a bid to hold the 2032 Olympics – which would have seemed unthinkable just a few weeks ago.

A GLITTERING CEREMONY

The ceremony saw the sky getting filled with an assortment of colours with fantastic fireworks on display.

Olympics chief Thomas Bach is to open talks with North and South Korea about marching and competing together at the 2020 Tokyo Games, he said on Sunday.

During the ceremony, many arts and cultural aspects of Indonesia were showcased through dancers, musicians and singers. The performers much like the athletes, put their best on show.

I declare the 18th Asian Games closed, said Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, president of the Olympic Council of Asia. “You did it! You made the energy of Asia come through… Jakarta has the capability to host any such major international event,” he added.

Thailand now are looking forward to glory at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after the Asian Games in Indonesia which drew to a close Sunday night.

While the successful athletes at Jakarta Palembang 2018 have legitimate reasons to aim for Olympic medals, those who failed to live up to expectations in Indonesia are hoping to make amends in Tokyo.

CHINA ON TOP

China topped the medals table for the 10th Games in succession, a streak stretching back to New Delhi 1982, with a runaway 132 golds while Japan secured a confidence-boosting second place with 75 ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics which begin in less than two years.

Some 11,000 athletes from across the continent gathered in Indonesia for the world’s largest multisport event after the Olympics, and with Japan moving ahead of close rivals South Korea for the first time since 1994, the host nation of the next Olympics can take plenty of positives away.

This matched Japan’s best gold-medal performance at the quadrennial tournament in 44 years, and just three short of the 78 it won 52 years ago in Bangkok.

Indonesia’s gold medal total in the 16-day event involving 45 countries and regions and featuring 465 medal events across 40 sports was their best-ever and highest finish on the medal table since they ranked second in 1962.

WANTS TO HOST OLYMPIAD

The success in hosting the event in Jakarta and Palembang, the South Sumatra provincial capital, has encouraged Jakarta to investigate a bid to host the 2032 Olympic Games. IOC President Thomas Bach welcomed Indonesia’s early interest, dismissing the city’s choking traffic and widespread poverty.

He said only two other countries had expressed interest – India and Germany – with formal bid still years away. The winner would be picked in 2025.

Paris will host the 2024 Olympics followed by Los Angeles in 2028.

You see that Indonesia is on the move, Bach said ‘And you see the enthusiasm of the people. It’s a very young country. This of course also makes it very interesting for the IOC.’

UNITY IS STRENGTH

The regional festival of sports also highlighted a display of unity between North and South Korea as they competed in combined teams for the first time in basketball, rowing and canoeing, winning one gold, one silver and two bronze. Japan won gold in team triathlon in the only event Sunday just hours ahead of the closing ceremony.

South Korea took silver. The Big Three of China, Japan and South Korea (49) were followed in the gold-medal ranking order by: Indonesia (31), Uzbekistan (21), Iran (20) and Taiwan (17). India and Kazakhstan each had 15 followed by North Korea and Bahrain with 12 while Thailand had 11.

IKEE ADJUDGED MVP

Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee became the first female athlete to be named the Most Valuable Player (MVP) at an Asian Games Sunday after the teenager scooped an unprecedented six gold medals in the Jakarta pool.

Only North Korean shooter So Gin Man, who won seven golds and a silver at New Delhi in 1982, has won more titles at one Asian Games but the 18-year-old Ikee also picked up two relay silvers to match So’s record tally of eight medals.

NT Bureau