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Indonesia bids emotional "Selamat Tinggal" (Farewell) to the games with a fabulous closing ceremony

Indonesia bids emotional "Selamat Tinggal" (Farewell) to the games with a fabulous closing ceremony

By Harpal Singh Bedi

Jakarta, Sept 2 (UNI) Underrated by a heavy downpour, Jakarta bade an emotional "Selamat Tinggal" (Farewell) to thousands of sportspersons from the continent with a carefree closing ceremony full of fabulous colours, throbbing music and frenzied dance at the historic Gelora Bung Karno stadium here on Sunday Night.

Indonesia which surprised many a naysayer by staging a spectacular Asian Games withstood the nature's onslaught on the last day as the packed GBK stadium in unison defied the odds to hail their country's success in hosting the games. It was a celebration of closing of a magnificent joy filled event that capped 15 days of intense competition.

For the physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted athletes from 45 countries, Jakarta gave them an occasion to let their hair down and for a moment rejoice in having participated in the continent's biggest, and the world's second biggest, multi-sports event.

While the opening of the Jakarta games was on a colossal scale, a show of Indonesia's rich cultural traditions, the closing function was all about Asia, a time to display the strong bonds of its nation members.

Everything about it was a reflection of peace, stability, togetherness and prosperity, emphasised particularly by the two Koreas unifying for the first time at an Asian Games. The theme of single Asian community! For Indonesia, a country that has recently been through difficult times, the Games gave it an opportunity to show it can overcome all obstacles to put up a good show.

If the Opening Ceremony wowed the audience for the richness of Indonesia's heritage, the closing of the games was a modest in its scale but extravagant in its liveliness. It was celebrating sportspersons, an appreciation for their coming here and making the event such a huge success.

It highlighted the cultures of not just Indonesia but that of other Asian nations by featuring artistes from India, China and Korea. The focus was music. There was Sidharth Slathia from India, the much acclaimed ikon and Super Junior from Korea besides Indonesia's own talents like Isyana Saraswati, Dira Sugandi, RAN and Bunga Citra Lestari. They had the jam-packed stadium on fire with their music.

Before the musical jamboree started, the athletes came into the stadium to loud cheers. The loudest cheer besides the host country went to China and Japan who finished first and second on the medals list. For those packed into the GBK arena added joy was the superb performance by hosts country athletes, and their fourth place standing in the medal tally.

The Indian contingent led by women hockey team’s captain Rani Rampal was particulary in high spirits having staged its best ever performance in Asian Games with 69 medals, 15 of them Gold.

For India, Indonesia was a happy hunting ground and they will take back rich memories. But on Sunday night, at the closing ceremony, the athletes were one Asia, celebrating the occasion.

However, the most vociferous and loudest cheers came for the volunteers as the whole stadium rose to a man to hail those unsung and unheralded young volunteers who tirelessy worked day and night for the success of the game and brought laurels to their Country.

There is no doubt that these young volunteers were very crucial component in the smooth conduct of the games. Their behaviour and conduct was impeccable which left lasting impression on the visitors.

The ceremonies closed with 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.

The most poignant moment of course was when the Asian Games flame was extinguished bringing a hush in the stadium. The closing ceremony left a tinge of sorrow that 15 days of high performance sports was over.

UNI HSB NC1847

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