INCHEON – After 16 days of competition, the second biggest sporting event in the world, the 17th Asian Games came to a close at the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium here Saturday night.
The ceremony started with a song delivering the message of peace and appreciation to Asian friends by Rainbow Choir.
It continued with the cultural performance by the National Dance Company of Korea, showcasing the ‘Chunsanghwa’, a beautiful dance embodying a heavenly maid or a celestial nymph which is known to exchange and intercourse with the world of human beings by flying the sky.
The calm but passionate dance shows the unique high and hilarious spirit of Koreans and even presents a sense of mystique like taking a glimpse of the beauty of the heaven.
The cultural performance also showcased the ‘So-go Dance’, highly-skilled dances along with various techniques with So-go, a small drum or traditional repercussion instrument of Korea before the highlight video featuring main scenes of the games, including the moments of joy, happiness, tension and sigh enjoyed together with the spectators.
After the cultural performances, it was followed by the parade of the host nation’s flag by Korean gold medallists and simultaneously, the national anthem of Korea was sung by soprano, Im Sunhae.
In the middle of an exciting repercussion performance by the Serotonin Drum Club, the bearers of national flags of participating countries and placard bearers entered the grounds and athletes from 45 participating nations and volunteers joined together, regardless of their nationalities.
The Malaysian contingent, clad in the ‘Malaysian Hero’ sports attire entered the venue, led by chief-de-mission Datuk Daniyal Balagopal Abdullah.
The Malaysian contingent lowered its position in the medal standings among the 45 countries competing here, when it settled for 14th place as compared with 10th place in Guangzhou, four years ago.
Malaysia bagged five gold, 14 silver and 14 bronze here as compared with nine gold, 18 silver and 14 bronze in Guangzhou.
Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) chairman Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, who hailed the Incheon Games “as the starting point of a new chapter in life”, during his speech, declared the games closed before nearly 30,000 spectators.
“The Asian Games are not only about medals. They are about representing your country, trying your best and taking pride in your flag.
“They are about sportsmanship and fair play and about friendship and team spirit. So, I hope the memories and the new friends you have made will last a lifetime, and that Incheon 2014 will always be remembered as the starting point of a new chapter in your life,” he said.
The OCA flag, and the Asian Games flag and torch were later handed over to President of NOC of Indonesia Rita Subowo and Governor of Jakarta, Basuki Tjahaya Purnama, the next host city of the Asian Games in 2018.
This marked the start of a dazzling spectacle by the Indonesian cultural performers, presenting Ronggeng Dance, followed by the dance of Palembang Darusslam in the theme, ‘The Spirit of South Sumatra’ and continued with Pusparagam Rampak Dance which symbolised harmony and unity.
The highlight of the show was the appearance of Korean pop sensation, ‘Bigbang’ which rendered three songs tonight.
A minute later, the city of Incheon once again lit up a spectacular fireworks display and the cauldron which has been burning for the last 16 days was extinguished.
As the meet ended today, it witnessed the giant contingent China comfortably perched at the top of the list with 151 gold, 108 silver and 83 bronze medals.
The host country finished second overall with 79 gold, 71 silver and 84 bronze while Japan finished third with a 47-76-77 tally.
More than 13,000 athletes from 45 countries and regions participated in 36 sports contested in the Games, with 20 countries making it to the medal standings and eight winning at least one gold medal. – Bernama