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Indonesia welcomes Asia with explosive opening ceremony

ITN News Editor
By ITN News Editor August 19, 2018 13:29

Indonesia welcomes Asia with explosive opening ceremony

A spectacular pyrotechnic show, including a simulated volcanic eruption, lit up the Jakarta skyline night as Indonesia rolled out the red carpet for the continent’s elite athletes in the opening ceremony for the 18th Asian Games.The country’s president Joko Widodo made an unorthodox and dramatic entrance to the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, riding a motorbike onto the stage before officially opening Indonesia’s second hosting of the Asiad.The North and South Korean athletes marched together under a common flag featuring a map of the divided peninsula.The centrepiece of the set was a huge model of a volcano around which 3,600 performers danced in various colourful costumes, entertaining an enthusiastic crowd and the millions watching around the continent on TV.

The climax of the ceremony came when former Olympic badminton champion Susi Susanti carried the Games’ torch to the summit of the volcano and set off a spectacular display of fireworks. Some 9,000 security personnel stood guard at the stadium, which has previously hosted, among others, Pope John Paul II, Michael Jackson, Bon Jovi and Guns N’ Roses as well as English Premier League sides such as Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.Security remains a concern in world’s biggest Muslim-majority country, which witnessed suicide attacks claimed by Islamic State in the city of Surabaya in May – the deadliest militant attacks in more than a decade.

Organisers have said 100,000 police and military personnel will be on duty to protect the Games, while facial recognition technology will be used at some of the venues.Some 13,000 athletes from 45 national Olympic committees will compete in 40 sports and 67 disciplines in the biggest multi-sport extravaganza outside Olympics with the schedule including new events ranging from bridge to roller skating.

ITN News Editor
By ITN News Editor August 19, 2018 13:29

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