Asian Games 2018 Opening Ceremony Highlights: Grand Opening Ceremony Draws To A Close

Updated: 18 August 2018 19:54 IST

2018 Asian Games Opening Ceremony Highlights: Commonwealth Games gold medallist Neeraj Chopra was India's flag-bearer in the opening ceremony.

Asian Games 2018 Opening Ceremony Highlights: Grand Opening Ceremony Draws To A Close
Asian Games 2018 Opening Ceremony: Neeraj Chopra was India's flag bearer © AFP

The Asian Games was declared open by Indonesia's President Joko Widodo late on Saturday during a colourful opening ceremony in Jakarta dominated by the joint march of North and South Korea. A burst of fireworks followed the announcement, marking the start of the two-week tournament to be held in Jakarta and Palembang in Sumatra. The ceremony stage -- with features of 120-metre length, 30-metre width and 26-metre height -- showcased a towering mountain as its background, accompanied by plants and flowers unique to Indonesia. Commonwealth Games gold medallist Neeraj Chopra was India's flag-bearer in the opening ceremony. The Indian sports ministry had cleared an 804-member Indian contingent, including 572 athletes, for the Asian Games. The sporting extravaganza will see around 10,000 athletes from 45 countries compete in 58 games.

Highlights of 2018 Asian Games Opening Ceremony, straight from Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta

19:53 IST: Thank you for staying with us for the live updates. Please join us again tomorrow for the live blog updates from the first day of the 2018 Asian Games.

19:53 IST: The opening ceremony comes to a close.

19:50 IST: And we are now to the final performance of the night.

19:40 IST: Indonesian badminton player Lucia Francisca Susy Susanti lights the Asian Games torch after which the tournament officially gets underway.

19:35 IST: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee also wished the Indian team.

19:33 IST: India's sports minister Rajyavardhan Rathore also wished luck to India's Asian Games 2018 participants.

19:32 IST: India's Prime Minister extended his greetings to the Indian athletes.

19:24 IST: Indonesian jazz pianist Joey Alexander enthralled the audience with his spell-binding performance.

19:14 IST: Cultural performances on display at the moment.

19:00 IST: The ceremony show begins after the Protocol segment got over.

18:52 IST: Indonesia President Joko Widodo declares the games open.

18:45 IST: Indonesia's flag is brought on stage by Paskibra (Flag Hoisting Troop).

18:35 IST: Indonesian singer-songwriter Tulus is singing the national anthem.

18:33 IST: Indonesian's national anthem being played after the flag hoisting ceremony.

18:30 IST: Indonesian singer Via Vallen is crooning to her hit singles. Via performed on the song - Meraih Bintang, the official theme song of the Asian Games 2018.

18:25 IST: The Parade of Nations comes to a close.

18:22 IST: And the last country are the host nation Indonesia. A rousing reception for their team from the spectators.

18:21 IST: Vietnam and Yemen are the next countries.

18:20 IST: Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor Leste and United Arab Emirates are the next three to march into the stadium.

18:15 IST: Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, Chinese Taipei are the next to march out.

18:13 IST: The two Korean nations will compete together in three disciplines namely lightweight rowing, dragon boat racing and basketball.

18:11 IST: Qatar, the former host nation, are marching in the stadium.

18:10 IST: Nepal, Oman and Pakistan are out in the middle now.

18:06 IST: Malaysia, Myanmar and Mongolia make way to the stadium. Mongolia are the nation to watch out for in the wresting and weightlifting events.

18:05 IST: Laos, Macau and China receive loud cheers from the crowd.

18:03 IST: Over 6000 athletes marching today. We have reached the half-way mark of the athletes march.

18:02 IST: Kyrgystan are the next nation to make their way to the stadium.

18:01 IST: HISTORIC! This is a special moment. Korea unified at the Asian Games. They will compete as separate nations in different sports though.

18:00 IST: Jordan, Kazakhstan are led by their respective flag bearers followed by Korea.

17:58 IST: Iran and Japan are the next two teams to follow.

17:55 IST: After Hong Kong China and China, it is India's turn to make their way into the stadium. India is led by their flag-bearer and CWG 2018 gold medal winner Neerak Chopra.

17:51 IST: Maldives, Brunei, Combodia teams make their way into the stadium now.

17:49 IST: Afghanistan is the 1st of the 49 nations to begin their march. Bahrain;s participants follow next. Bangladesh are the third country.

17:48 IST: Athletes now begin their march amid loud and thunderous cheers from the crowd.

17:45 IST: The visuals from the stadium are simply breathtaking. A visual treat for everyone. Children are performing in unison leaving everyone stunned. A showcase of talent and a brief insight on what's in store for the next fortnight.

17:40 IST: Indonesia President Joko Widodo makes way to the stage in style. He reached the stage on a motorcycle leaving the spectators in awe.

17:32 IST: The opening ceremony begins.

17:28 IST: The 2018 Asian games will see 45 countries participating. It includes 43 other nations, hosts Indonesia and a unified Korea (North and South).

North and South Korea had marched together at the 2018 Commonwealth Games too.

17:24 IST: We are moments away from the opening ceremony now.

17:15 IST: Commonwealth Games gold medallist Neeraj Chopra will be India's flag-bearer in the opening ceremony.

17:00 IST: Indonesian culture will be at full display today at the opening ceremony.

16:41 IST: India's batting legend Sachin Tendulkar has urged everyone to come out abd support the Indian team.

16:35 IST: Hello and welcome to the live updates of the 2018 Asian Games opening ceremony.

The stage has been built manually by artists from Bandung and Jakarta and will witness around 4,000 dancers who will perform on dance choreographed by Denny Malik and Eko Supriyanto. The dancers are expected to perform "an energetic and elegant show" with the presence of an orchestra that will feature at least a hundred musicians with its two conductors Addie MS and Ronald Steven, who are well recognised amid Indonesian music culture. 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.

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.

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