Asiad Opening Ceremony: Neeraj Leads India; N & S Korea Join Hands
The 572 member Indian contingent arrives at the opening ceremony of the 18th Asian Games 2018.
The 572 member Indian contingent arrives at the opening ceremony of the 18th Asian Games 2018.(Photo: AP)

Asiad Opening Ceremony: Neeraj Leads India; N & S Korea Join Hands

The 18th Asian Games was declared open by the Indonesian President Joko Widido at the GBK stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia on Saturday, 18 August.

The president arrived on a motorbike to the venue of Gelora Bung Karno Stadium where 6,000 athletes from all countingents were welcomed to the stage of the Asian Games 2018.

President Joko Widido arrives on a motorbike to the venue of Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
President Joko Widido arrives on a motorbike to the venue of Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.
(Photo: AP)

The Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Neeraj Chopra led the Indian Contingent of 572 participants at the traditional ‘Parade of Athletes’.

Neeraj Chopra leads the Indian Contingent.
Neeraj Chopra leads the Indian Contingent.
(Photo: AP)

The Ceremony

The opening ceremony which showcased the Indonesian culture, was a vibrant mix of serenity and rage. The stadium on one side was lit in the serenity of green and blue, exhibiting the flora, while on the side, in the red hot colours of the lava.

The opening ceremony showcased the Indonesian culture.
The opening ceremony showcased the Indonesian culture.
(Photo: AP)

The Torch

Indonesian badminton player Susi Susanti lit the Asian Games torch in a cauldron that was prepared in the shape of a volcano.

Susi Susanti lights the Asian Games cauldron.
Susi Susanti lights the Asian Games cauldron.
(Photo: AP)

North and South Korea Join Hands

The march of the 49 countries was commenced by Afghanistan and then followed by Bahrain and Bangladesh respectively.

The Indian team was welcomed by a loud cheer by the fans in the stadium as Neeraj Chopra led the contingent.

In a first at the Asian Games, athletes from North and South Korea paraded together under the flag featuring a blue map that symbolized a unified Korean Peninsula.

While they will still compete at the games as two different nations, the walk is seen as a hope for peace by the bureaucrats of the two countries who have been at each other’s neck for long.

South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (L), North Korean Vice Premier Ri Ryong Nam (R) join hands and wave during the opening ceremony.
South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (L), North Korean Vice Premier Ri Ryong Nam (R) join hands and wave during the opening ceremony.
(Photo: AP)

Athletes, Politicians Wish the Indian Team

Several former athletes poured their wishes to the team as they arrived in Indonesia for the competition.

Sydney Olympic bronze medalist, Karnam Malleswari and six-time Winter Olympian Shiva Keshavan wished their very best to the Indian contingent.

“Don’t forget that 125 crore prayers will be supporting you, give it your best , ”said Karnam Malleswari.

Several politicians also took to Twitter to express their wishes for the Indian contigent. Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and PM Narendra Modi poured in their best wishes. “Bring back laurels and glory for yourselves, and the country, ” Banerjee wrote over Twitter.

Also Read : Sindhu, Sushil & Other Medal Favourites For India at Asian Games

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