Asian Games 2018: Joint Korean March To Get Asiad Opening Ceremony Started

Updated: 18 August 2018 16:46 IST

Asian Games 2018 in Jakarta and Palembang is set to officially kick off from Saturday.

Asian Games 2018: Joint Korean March To Get Asiad Opening Ceremony Started
South Korea fans cheer their team during their match in the Asian Games 2018 © AFP

North and South Korea will march together at the Asian Games opening ceremony as one of the world's largest multi-sport competitions gets underway under a cloud of concern over security and pollution on Saturday. The two Koreas will march behind the blue-and-white Korean Unification flag for the second time this year, after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics -- an event that heralded an unprecedented warming of ties. The North and South, still technically at war, are also joining forces in women's basketball, canoeing and rowing during the 40-sport, two-week regional Olympics. The weeks and months leading up to the tournament have been dogged by worries over poor air quality, terrorism and Jakarta's notorious traffic.

But organisers insist they are ready, and 4,000 dancers and a 100-piece orchestra will get the party started in Jakarta at a ceremony which organisers say will be watched by billions of people across Asia and beyond.

The main Gelora Bung Karno stadium will be transformed into a verdant mountain, organisers say, and Indonesian celebrity singer Anggun Cipta Sasmi will take to the stage.

The Games website says the ceremony will show the world Indonesia is capable of hosting an international event -- but the jury is still out.

On Thursday the online ticketing system crashed, just days after the country admitted a series of malfunctions have been plaguing the light rapid transit system in Palembang, which is co-hosting the games with Jakarta.

A brutal police crackdown on petty crime in the run-up to the Games has also caused alarm, with Amnesty International warning at least 31 suspects had been killed under a "shoot first and ask questions later" operation in Jakarta and south Sumatra.

- 'Once in a lifetime' -

Just a few hours before the opening on Saturday, national police chief Tito Karnavian visited the GBK stadium, telling journalists that more than 8,000 security officials would be deployed for the ceremony.

"We are giving special attention to security," he said at the arena, where more than 300 CCTV cameras with facial recognition technology have been installed.

Around 50,000 people are expected inside the stadium, Games organising committee INASGOC said Saturday, adding that tickets -- which range in price from to $50-$350 -- had sold out.

Indonesian Gunawan Tri Wasisto, who works in finance, said tickets were costly but worth it.

"This is the moment, we are the host. A bit expensive but for a once-in-a-lifetime event, it doesn't matter," he told AFP.

Some locals turned up at the stadium on Saturday morning, hours before the 7:00 pm (1200 GMT) start to soak up the atmosphere.

Bani, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, arrived with his wife and two kids, telling AFP he wanted "to feel the euphoria, see the preparations".

"The people are also involved," Bani, 36, added. "You can see people are decorating their neighbourhoods with the Games' logos."

Jakarta might be stealing the limelight but several thousand athletes, officials and VIPs are also expected at a welcome evening on Saturday staged in the huge Sports City complex of Palembang.

As well as performances by local and international musicians, Jakarta's opening ceremony will be broadcast live on a huge screen outside the main stadium of the city that will host 13 of the sporting events, including shooting, bowling and beach volleyball.

About 18,000 athletes and officials from 45 Asian countries will be at the Asiad, organisers said, looking to make their mark across a range of sports including bridge, jetski, paragliding and sepak takraw, as well as nearly the full Olympic programme.

Comments
Topics : Asian Games 2018 Other Sports
Highlights
  • Asian Games 2018 is set to officially kick off from Saturday
  • A grand-scale opening ceremony will take place
  • Jakartas Gelora Bung Karno Stadium will host the ceremony
Related Articles
Swapna Barman, Asian Games Gold Medallist, Invited By AIIMS For Treatment, Says Report
Swapna Barman, Asian Games Gold Medallist, Invited By AIIMS For Treatment, Says Report
Asian Games 2018: Couldn
Asian Games 2018: Couldn't Win Singles Gold Due To High Fever, Says Rower Dattu Bhokanal
Harish Kumar, Asian Games Medallist, Supports Family By Helping Father Sell Tea
Harish Kumar, Asian Games Medallist, Supports Family By Helping Father Sell Tea
Asian Games 2018: Would Have Won Asian Games Gold If I Had State Assistance, Says Wrestler Divya Kakran
Asian Games 2018: Would Have Won Asian Games Gold If I Had State Assistance, Says Wrestler Divya Kakran
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore Says Funds For 2020 Olympics Will Be Distributed With Surgical Precision
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore Says Funds For 2020 Olympics Will Be Distributed With Surgical Precision
Advertisement