Jakarta: The heavens opened up as the curtains came down on the 18th Asian Games but could do very little harm to the glittering closing ceremony at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on Sunday.
Indonesians, withstanding heavy waterlogging and frustrating traffic, made sure to occupy every available seats on the stands and bade an emotional ‘Selamat Tinggal’ (Farewell), marking the end of 16 days of non-stop sporting action.
Still reeling from the devastating earthquake in Lombok, the hosts defied all odds and put their best foot forward to ensure a successful and magnificent event of intense competition.
The Games reflected peace, stability, togetherness and prosperity, emphasised particularly by the two Korean nations unifying for the first time at an Asian Sporting showpiece.
And for all the physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting day, the athletes from 45 countries were seen letting their hair down and celebrating the ‘Energy of Asia.’
The closing ceremony depicted Indonesia’s rich cultural traditions, friendship and the strong bonds it shares with its member nations.
Slightly subdued than the grand opening ceremony but still extravagant enough to leave a lasting memory with its liveliness, it was a celebration for everyone associated with the Games, appreciating their unconditional support.
The event highlighted the cultures of not just Indonesia but also other Asian nations and featured artistes from India, China and Korea. The vibrant Indonesian Police Academy marching band kick-started the evening.
Setting the tone later were India’s acclaimed singer Siddharth Slathia who rocked the evening with hit Bollywood songs, Super Junior from Korea besides Indonesia’s own talents like Isyana Saraswati, Dira Sugandi, RAN and Bunga Citra Lestari.
Before the entertainment could begin, the athletes came into the stadium for one last time to the loudest of cheers. The warmest welcome went to hosts athletes Indonesia beside table toppers China.
The whole stadium rose in unison for the young volunteers — the unsung heroes who worked tirelessly day and night for the success of the Games.
Earlier, on the final day of the quadrennial multisport event, Japan wrapped up its Asian Games campaign with another gold medal after defending its title in the mixed triathlon relay.
The team of Yuka Sato, Jumpei Furuya, Yuko Takahashi and Yuichi Hosoda claimed the final gold on offer at the games after crossing the line in 1:30.39 seconds in Palembang. South Korea clinched silver clocking 2:22 seconds while Hong Kong took bronze.
The Most Valuable Player (MVP) award of the Asian Games went to 18-year-old Japanese swimmer Ikee Rikako, who won six gold and two silvers and became the first female athlete to win an MVP.
The ceremonies closed with Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) President Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah calling on all sportspersons of the continent to meet in four years at Hangzhou (China) and the symbolic handing over of the OCA Flag to Mayor of Hangzhou Xu Li-yi.
With the cauldron flame, the symbol of the Asian Games movement, doused, another four-year-wait also began. All the 45 nations will be reuniting once again in China’s ancient city of Hangzhou, famous for its scenic lake and temples in 2022.