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Asian Games Opening Ceremony


South Korea president opens Incheon Asiad amid K-Pop infused ceremony.

South Korean President Park Geun Hye opened the Incheon Asian Games, South Korea, at a glittering, K-Pop inspired ceremony Friday as North Korean athletes received an unexpectedly warm welcome.

“I declare the opening of the 17th Asian Games,” Park said simply, after athletes from 45 countries had filed into Incheon’s purpose-built main stadium.

Asian Games 2014

Athletes from Indonesia march into the stadium during the opening ceremony for the 17th Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea,Friday, Sept. 19, 2014. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

“Gangnam Style” singer Psy was set to close the spectacle, heralding the start of 15 days of competition with 9,500 athletes.

The ceremony’s most touching moment came when the crowd bellowed their approval for the team from North Korea, with which South Korea technically remains at war.

Asian Games 2014

South Korean President Park Geun Hye applauds during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Asian Games at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium in Incheon on Sept 19, 2014.(photo: AFP)

The North’s athletes and officials, dressed in pristine white blazers and blue trousers, managed only the slightest of grins as they paraded – in contrast to the enthusiasm of their welcome.

Asian Games 2014

There were also big cheers for Japan and China, allaying fears the hosts’ neighbours could get a frosty reception because of tensions over Beijing’s long-standing support for Pyongyang and Japanese colonial rule in Korea.

The show to mark the start of one of the world’s biggest sporting events, themed around the concept of “One Asia” united as a family, had begun with a blast of high-octane K-Pop from boy band Exo.

Asian Games 2014

Flag bearer of North Korea Sok Yongbom leads the team into the Opening Ceremony of the 17th Asian Games in Incheon on Sept 19, 2014. (PHOTO: REUTERS)

The 17th Asiad includes the full Olympic programme plus Asian favourites like kabaddi and wushu, making for a packed schedule of 36 sports with 439 gold medals on offer.

Organisers were hoping the ceremony can create a much-needed buzz around the Games after slow ticket sales, just 18 percent early this week, generated an air of apathy.

But there were rows and rows of empty seats in the stands of the 61,000-capacity stadium for the opening ceremony.

Many of the matches so far in football, the only competition to start before the official opening, have been nearly devoid of fans with barely 100 at Jordan’s win over United Arab Emirates on Thursday night.

The mayor of South Korea’s third city has admitted that Incheon, which has built 17 new venues, is in financial trouble because of the cost of hosting the Games.

But Korean spirits will rise if favourite Jung Jee Hae wins the Games’ first gold in the women’s 10m air pistol on Saturday, when full competition starts.

South Korea are looking to consolidate second spot in the medals table behind China, who swept a record 199 gold medals and 416 overall at Guangzhou 2010.

Source: Straits Times / AFP


Incheon Asian Games Opening Ceremony – Arirang News


Indonesia to host Asian Games in 2018.

The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) general assembly Saturday approved here that Indonesia will host the 2018 Asian Games, five months after the original host Vietnam backed out due to financial difficulties.

Rita Subowo, president of the Indonesian Olympic Committee, made a presentation at the OCA general assembly Saturday morning before their bid won the nod, reports Xinhua.

Rita Subowo

Rita Subowo

“Indonesia is ready to host the next Asian Games in 2018,” Subowo told the OCA general assembly.
“It’s our dreams to host again the Asian Games after 56 years. Now this is the chance for our youth generations to be able to participate, not only to compete, but also to be the host and welcome you all to our country,” he added.

Subowo said much of the infrastructure needed was already in place and Jakarta’s new airport and mass transit system would be finished by the time the games are held.

“Time is so short. That is the biggest challenge,” she said. “So from now on we have to work hard and we need the support of our friends and colleagues, not only in Asia, but also from all over the world.”

Source: Xinhua