Breaking News

Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Saturday, August 18, 2018

Headline

Incheon bids farewell to Asian Games

Diversity Shines Here

Share on Facebook October 4, 2014, Reporter : BigNewsNet, Reader : 526

news

The curtain fell on the Incheon Asian Games on Saturday after 16 days of tough competition by participating athletes and friendships shared by billions of sports fans on the continent but with familiar results: China placed first, South Korea second and Japan third in the medal standings.

Under the slogan of "Diversity Shines Here," more than 14,000 athletes and staff from 45 countries have competed for 439 gold medals in 36 sports. Fourteen new world records were rewritten here in archery, shooting and weightlifting, with many fresh Asian records.

China cemented its status as the continent's sports powerhouse, topping the medal table with a total of 343 medals, including 151 golds.

Host South Korea came in second with 79 golds, outnumbering arch-rival Japan who gained 47 golds. North Korea did well at Incheon, having earned a more-than-expected 11 golds, with its weightlifters setting four world records.

With all these hard-fought competitions coming to an end, the closing ceremony started at Incheon Asiad Main Stadium to celebrate athletes for their hard work as well as inspire them for future efforts.

The main theme of the ceremony was "Our Cherished Memories of Incheon," directed by Jang Jin, a South Korean filmmaker who also managed the opening ceremony two weeks ago.

The grand fest began with fireworks woven with pop music and artistic performances, including a taekwondo demonstration by members of Kukkiwon, the global headquarters of the martial art.

On the wide screens, video footage showed the highlights of the continent's biggest sporting event, recapturing sports stars and their competitors' excitement, joy, regret and lament.

After another video clip showing Incheon residents during the competition was played, the host nation's flag entered the stadium.

Eight South Korean medallists from this Asiad, including the popular rhythmic gymnast champ Son Yeon-jae, sprinter Yeo Hosua, taekwondo fighter Lee Dae-hoon and football player Rim Chang-woo, carried the national flag.

Son became the first South Korean to win the Asian Games gold in individual all-around finals, while Yeo ended South Korea's 28-year drought in sprint by taking bronze in the men's 200m. Lee won his second straight taekwondo gold medal, while Rim scored the dramatic game winner against North Korea in the men's football gold medal match.

Athletes entered the stadium freely, cheering and waving their hands and flags. Looking relaxed and free from burden, they took selfies with their colleagues and players from other countries.

The Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award was presented to the Japanese swimming sensation Kosuke Hagino, as voted by accredited journalists covering the Asian Games. Hagino won four gold medals as part of his seven-medal campaign in Incheon. Hagino is the third Japanese winner of the award that was first presented at the 1998 Bangkok Asian Games.

After the Organizing Committee for Incheon Asian Games Chairman Kim Young-soo and Olympic Council of Asia President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah announced the closing of the Incheon Asiad, the official organising flag was handed to the next host city: Jakarta.

"For the last 16 days, we have together enjoyed the festival of Asia while exercising our full potentials in fair competitions by representing each and every nation in Asia," Kim Young-soo said in his remarks.

Sheikh Ahmad said the athletes should use what they've learned here to their best advantage.

"The Asian Games are not only about medals. They are about representing your country, trying your best and taking pride in your flag," he said. "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."

Also in attendance at the ceremony were three high-ranking North Korean officials: Hwang Pyong-so, Choe Ryong-hae and Kim Yang-gon.

Hwang, the director of the military's General Political Bureau, is largely viewed as the No. 2 man in the North Korea. He is the highest North Korean official to visit the South in recent years. Their visit was seen in Seoul as an indication of Pyongyang's desire to improve frosty bilateral relationships.

The three officials stood up from their seats and cheered as the North Korean athletes entered the stadium waving their flags. South Korean fans also greeted them with hearty cheers.

The Asian Games cauldron, which had lit the city for the last 16 days, finally was put out with a promise to meet again in Jakarta four years later.

South Korean boy band Big Bang had a mini-concert and attracted an enthusiastic response from the athletes, wrapping up the grand finale.

More Euro Asia news of the month

Photos Mysterious North Korean spy to lead its Olympics delegation

SEOUL, South Korea - In what many in South Korea are calling another sign that the North is making attempts to improve ties with the...

Photos Curious Olympics visitors crowding South Korea's Penis Park

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea - Thanks to the Winter Olympics, the South Korean ‘Penis Park’ has become an unlikely tourist...

Photos South Korea: U.S. willing to hold talks with North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea - Following the first rounds of talks being initiated between the two Koreas - the South Korean President Moon Jae In...

Photos Winter Olympics cyberattack: Internal systems crash

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea - The internal systems at the Winter Olympics are said to have been hit by a cyberattack on Friday. On...

Photos Olive branch? Kim Jong Un invites Moon Jae In to North Korea

SEOUL, South Korea - On Saturday, South Korean President Moon Jae In’s office confirmed that he had received an invitation to...

Photos South raises North Korean flag despite laws prohibiting it

SEOUL, South Korea - Despite laws against it, the North Korean national flag was raised in the South on Thursday. Organisers of the...

Photos South Korea urges North to denuclearize in significant talks

SEOUL, South Korea - After more than two years, the first formal engagement in talks between the two Koreas, indeed was watched closely...

Photos South Korea ranked third among major economies in GDP growth

SEOUL, South Korea - In fresh statistics revealed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development(OECD), South Korea is...

Photos South Korea fires warning shots at heavily militarized DMZ

SEOUL, South Korea - Complicating efforts to ease tensions over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, South Korean guards...

Flying Reimagined

Stock Index

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Life Style

Photo Gallery

FEUILLETON