Indonesia's President Joko Widodo declares 2018 Asian Games open

Taiwanese weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun is Taiwan's flag bearer at the 2018 Asian Games


JAKARTA(Taiwan News) - The opening ceremony of the 18th Asian Games was held in the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium yesterday (Aug 18) at 7.00 p.m.

The 2018 Asian Games were declared open by Indonesia's President Joko Widodo. He made an unorthodox and dramatic entrance to the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, riding a motorbike onto the stage. The camera then turned, and the president took off his helmet and tidied up in the background, and finally appeared in the VIP seat of the stadium under the escort of his entourage, looking solemn and different from the cool rider who had been riding on the streets before on the video.

Widodo said in the opening ceremony speech yesterday,"On behalf of the Indonesian people, we are proud and we are honored to welcome our special guests from 45 countries." He also mentioned in his speech that he hopes that through the 18th Asian Games, the countries in Asia can show the world that they are united.

Taiwanese weightlifter Kuo Hsing-chun (郭婞淳) carried Taiwan's team flag at the opening ceremony. It is the first time since 1998 that a female athlete will carry the flag for the Taiwan team at the Asian Games. A female taekwondo athlete Chen Yi-an (陳怡安) was the flag bearer for Taiwan at the Asian Games in 1998 held in Bangkok, Thailand.

A total of 11 sports teams, including the weightlifting, softball, gymnastics, swimming, equestrian, basketball, wrestling, handball, fencing, wushu and hockey team were present at the opening ceremony. They arrived waving the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee flag and raised a banned that read "We Love Jakarta". The banner also had the Indonesian word for thanks, Terima Kasih.

During the event, North and South Korea marched together under a unified flag, just as they did at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Games earlier this year. They will compete in the 2018 Asian Games under the unified flag in three sports; lightweight rowing, dragon boat and women's 5x5 basketball. The flag was a unity banner, a light blue representation of the Korean peninsula on a white background.

Another highlight the participation of the Kuwait delegation, as the International Olympic Committee had only lifted their suspension two days ago. The Kuwait Olympic Committee was suspended on October 27 in 2015 due to government interference and conflicts in the sports law.

After introducing the participating countries and a series of performances by Indonesia, the two-and-a-half hour open ceremony ended with a burst of fireworks that also marked the start of the two-week tournament to be held in Jakarta and Palembang in Sumatra.

Venues at the 2018 Asian Games will be divided into four clusters, located in South Jakarta, North Jakarta, Jakarta's suburbs, and in Palembang. A total number of 462 medal sets will be awarded at the 2018 Asian Games across 47 sports.

The 2018 Asian Games are due to run from August 18 to September 2.