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Unified Koreans march at Jakarta as the 18th Asian Games commenced with Neeraj Chopa leading India flag

The capital city of Indonesia presented a dazzling opening show pronouncing the 18th Asian Games, with red as the predominant colour in the extravaganza of song and dance. The Indian contingent was led by the Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra who is regarded as the brightest gold medal prospect among the 804 athletes representing the nation.

Unified Korea

The loudest cheers were reserved for the contingent of hosts Indonesia. But the march past became spectacular when the two Koreas entered unified at the stadium. They repeated this unified representation once again after the Winter Olympics to deliver the message of world peace. The two Koreas will field a united team in three events – Light-weight Rowing, Dragon Boat Racing and Women’s 5×5 Basketball.

Much to the relief of Kuwait athletes, they were allowed to participate under their own flag after the International Olympic Committee lifted the suspension just 48 hrs before the commencement of the event.

Saman Dance

The ceremony started with a video footage where Indonesian President Joko Widodo was seen taking a bike ride to avoid the infamous Jakarta traffic jam to reach the stadium in time. He appeared at the stadium, revealed his identity and was received by the crowd with a loud cheer. Almost 2,200 school children showcased the traditional ‘Saman’ dance, which has been listed by UNESCO in its Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

“We are all here to celebrate diversity, we are all here to celebrate differences, we are all here to celebrate humanity, Organising Committee President Erick Thohir said in his speech. Olympic Council of Asia President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah then addressed the packed stadium and was delighted that his own country Kuwait participated under country’s flag. President Widodo then declared the Games Open.

The Asian Games torch relay begun on July 15 at Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in New Delhi came to Jakarta after being carried through 53 cities across the country. Former Indonesia shuttler Susi Susanti lit the cauldron which marked the opening of the Games.

About Poulomi Kundu

PoulomiKundu started her career in 2000 as a freelance journalist in Hindustan Times. Soon after she was selected an intern in Zee News, Kolkata. After her post- graduation in English, Poulomi joined the leading television production house of eastern India, Rainbow Productions. She was a journalist in Khas Khobor, a Bengali news magazine programme in Doordarshan and also headed the post production department of another programme, Khas Kolkata. In 2004, Poulomi moved to Delhi as a creative writer in an advertising agency, Brand Stewards Pvt. Ltd. In 2005, she again shifted her base for a better opportunity and that in Mumbai. There she got the job in Raa Media Pvt Ltd. as an associate director of two programmes for Doordarshan-Yuva and Paisa Vasool. In the meantime, she also wrote features in DNA as a freelancer. Poulomi directs promotional videos, develops scripts for films for Corporate and NGOs. But an ardent sports lover, Poulomi always had an urge to contribute somewhere in the field of sports. Her love for sports started from an early age when she played gully cricket and football for local teams. Academics and professional hazards sometimes took her away from her passion, but it never died in her. She always nurtured the never-ending dream. So she materialized her dream in the form of ‘SPORTSAVOUR’. It is an online sports portal that serves sports with the tagline ‘For the indigenous, unconventional, unknown’.

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