Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Spectacular opening marks the start of biggest ever Asiad



Spectacular opening marks the start of biggest ever Asiad

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
The Cambodian delegation parades during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games at the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium in Jakarta on Saturday. AFP

Spectacular opening marks the start of biggest ever Asiad

The biggest ever Asian Games in history co-hosted by two cities hundreds of miles apart for the first time opened on Saturday night with a spectacular mix of cultural show and pyrotechnics on a 120-metre long, 600 ton stage at Jakarta’s Gelora Bung Karno main stadium.

Indonesian President Joko Jokowi Widodo officially declared the Games open from the stage built manually in the shape of a towering mountain by artists from Jakarta and Bandung after entering the venue riding a motorcycle that he was reportedly forced to take when his presidential convoy was caught in one of Jakarta’s notorious traffic jams.

Around 40,000 spectators packed the stadium, as over 2000 school dancers drawn from 18 high schools across the capital enchanted the audience with the traditional Saman dance from the western province of Aceh which is recognised by the Unesco as an intangible cultural asset of humanity.

The 18th edition was significant in more ways than one for the president of the Olympic Council of Asia Sheikh Fahad Al-Sabah of Kuwait, who was relieved and happy to see the IOC lift the ban on his country 48 hours before the opening ceremony, allowing Kuwait to compete at the Games under its own national flag.

In what was a repeat of this February’s internationally hailed unification efforts between South and North Korea and their Joint march during the Winter Olympics, the two nations, which are still technically at war with each other, again presented a unified front to a huge ovation.

Hundreds of miles away in co-host city of Palembang, a crowd of roughly 2,000 watched the ceremony on a big screen at the Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium.

Aside from almost all Olympic disciplines on display, jiujitsu, sport-climbing, roller sport and paragliding featured in the Asiad for the first time even as the OCA introduced canoe polo and e-sports as a push towards the younger generation.

The 845-strong Chinese contingent which includes 19 olympic champions is expected to dominate the Games for the 10th year in a row and the hosts have pegged their own gold medal aspirations at 16.

The 71-member Cambodian squad took part in the parade of nations in its dazzling attire with taekwondo star Sorn Seavmey as the flag bearer.

Cambodia will be among the 45 countries in the Continent taking part. In a pleasant variation from tradition, each country’s contingent was led by an official who carried their country’s nameplate while dressed in a Garuda bird styled clothes designed by one of Indonesia’s most famous fashion designers Dynand Fariz.

Cambodia at OCA

NOCC president and tourism minister Thong Khon who arrived in Jakarta with Secretary General Vath Chamroeun and several other team members on Friday attended the welcome ceremony held on the morning of the opening ceremony at the Games village.

In keeping with tradition, gifts were exchanged between the NOCC chief and the mayor of Jakarta. He later took a tour of the residential quarters of the Cambodian contingent.

Even as the Kingdom’s fencers, taekwondokas and wrestlers got down to the business of competition, the top administrators were busy attending the OCA General Assembly held on the sidelines on Sunday morning.

During the sessions, reports on Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics were presented while Aichi Nagoya signed Host City agreement for the 2026 Asian Games.

Apart from IOC presentations, a report on the Inaugural World Beach Games next year in San Diego was also unveiled.

MOST VIEWED

  • Construction begins on $1.5B Kampot seaport

    The International Multi-Purpose Logistics and Port Centre, principally invested by Kampot Logistics and Port Co Ltd and projected to cost $1.5 billion, has officially broken ground in Bokor town, Kampot province. The multi-purpose logistics and port centre, located in Prek Tnaot commune, will be built on

  • Cambodia eyes key role in electronics, auto hubs in SEA

    Two roadmaps, part of the LDC’s economic diversification plan, were designed to see it through its migration process, but experts say the journey might be arduous, particularly in the presence of two established hubs in the region By 2028, Cambodia hopes to have exited the

  • Hun Neng, lawmaker and PM’s brother, passes away aged 72

    Hun Neng, chairman of the 4th Commission of the National Assembly, has passed away from heart disease at the age of 72 on the afternoon of May 5, according to the Ministry of Information. Hun Neng is the older brother of Prime Minister Hun Sen, and was

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM meets with US business giants

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has met with a number of major US companies who have expressed interest in investing in Cambodia, in a meeting convened by the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). A delegation of companies – including Amazon, Meta, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Ford, Visa and Pernod

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180