JAKARTA: Indonesia ushered the Asian Games back to their home after 56 years in sheer style, pomp and with a great celebration.
The country with 236 million population opened their home and hearts to the Asian sporting family with a festive, dazzling and colourful opening ceremony of the 18th Games edition at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta yesterday.
There was never a dull moment as the host pulled off a fantastic three-hour showcase, centred on the Games theme "Energy of Asia", to show the world that they are indeed a huge nation capable of hosting an international event.
It started with an interesting video of Indonesian president Joko Widodo arriving on a bike to the thunderous cheers in a sold-out 76,000-capacity stadium.
The ceremony went into full swing in the backdrop of an impressive giant stage with a length of 120m and width of 30m, which was creatively designed to look like a lush mountain surrounded by plant species found on Indonesian soil.
The highlight was the athletes parade as all 45 participating nations marched proudly dressed in their best.
Malaysian contingent walked confidently into the stadium, led by flagbearer Syakilla Salni Jefry Krisna. She is one of the 447-member of the Malaysian contingent and she will be defending her gold medal in the women's kumite below 61kg at the Games.
The highlight of the of day was when North and South Korea marched together under the unified flag, making it a historic moment, just like how it was at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang earlier this year.
Another significant moment was when Kuwait marched under their own flag after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) provisionally lifted the country’s suspension, which had been put in place for nearly three years.
The ceremony followed by opening address by the organising committee chairman Erick Thohir and Olympic Council of Asia president Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah, who commended Indonesia for their great job despite replacing Vietnam as the host.
Jokowi then declared the Games open as fireworks lighted up the skies.
This was followed by a five-segment performance comprising earth, wind, water and fire that formed the last element of the Energy of Asia.