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.
The Commonwealth Games gold medal winner Neeraj Chopra led the Indian Contingent of 572 participants at the traditional ‘Parade of Athletes’.
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.
Indonesian badminton player Susi Susanti lit the Asian Games torch in a cauldron that was prepared in the shape of a volcano.
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.
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.