The official games mascots during the opening ceremony for the 18th Asian Games in the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Jakarta, Indonesia, Saturday. Image Credit: AP

Jakarta: Three participating countries at the 2018 Asian Games changed their flags for the opening ceremony.

On Thursday, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) officially lifted its sanction on Kuwait after the contingent from the Middle East accepted the sanctions for interfering in sports regulations in October 2015.

Kuwaiti athletes have participated in international events under the IOC flag, including their participation in the 2016 Olympic Games, in Rio de Janeiro.

With the ban lifted, Kuwait used its own flag instead of the flag of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) as planned earlier.

They were warned by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) on Saturday to stop its “world record” of government interference in sport or face being exiled for a third time. “This is a world record for government interference in the Olympic movement, no country is like this,” OCA director general Husain Al Musallam said after an executive board meeting discussed the matter in Jakarta.

“We are very happy for the Kuwait National Olympic Committee and for the athletes,” he said.

South Korea and North Korea having joined hands for this Asian Games — also united under a blue flag with a picture of the Korean Peninsula on it.

“Though North Korea and South Korea used a unified flag for opening ceremony, there will be three different flags at the Asian Games Athletes Village for the countries, consisting of a South Korean flag, a North Korean flag and the [unified] Korean flag,” said Indonesia Asian Games Organising Committee (INASGOC) spokesperson Danny Buldansyah.