On opening day of Asian Games in Jakarta, North and South Korea marched together in a stirring display of unity as the Asian Games, one of the world’s biggest sports events, opened in a blaze of colour in Jakarta on Saturday. 18th edition of the Asian Games officially began in Indonesian capital Jakarta this evening. Most of the events are scheduled to begin from tomorrow. Some of the events, including Handball and Football, kicked off last week.
Around 11,000 athletes from 45 countries will compete in 40 sports and 67 disciplines in the 16-day quadrennial event. For the first time, eSports (a form of competition using video games) and canoe polo will be contested as demonstration sports.
Over 570 Indian athletes will be vying for top honours across 36 sports which will take place in Jakarta and in Palembang. Javelin Thrower Neeraj Chopra was India’s flag-bearer at the glittering opening ceremony.
South Korean women’s basketball player Lim Yung-hui and North Korean footballer Ju Kyong-chol jointly held the Korean Unification flag aloft as they led the athletes out to an ovation from the packed crowd.
This is second symbolic gesture this year by the two Koreas, who also walked together at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony — an event that heralded an unprecedented warming of ties.
Shooters Apurvi Chandela and Ravi Kumar today gave India its first medal of the 18th Asian Games being held in Indonesia.
In the Finals of the 10-metre Air Rifle Mixed Team event, the pair finished third with 429.9 points to bag a Bronze. Chinese Taipei took home the Gold, while China settled for the Silver. Apurvi and Ravi had entered the Finals after finishing second in the qualification.
However, in the 10-metre Air Pistol Mixed Team event, the Indian pair of Manu Bhaker, the 16-year old Commonwealth Games and World Cup Gold medalist, and Abhishek Verma failed to qualify for the Finals after they ended sixth in the Qualification.
Sushil Kumar, who won a Bronze at the Games in 2006, had a disappointing outing today as he was beaten 5-3 by Adam Batirov in the Men’s 74 kgs Qualifications.
Sushil is out of the race of a Gold medal, but still has a chance for a medal with a repechage. Sandeep Tomar, however, made it to the quarterfinals of Men’s 57 kg division. Bajrang Punia, Pawan Kumar and Mausam Khatri are also in action today.
In Swimming, Sajan Prakash and Srihari Nataraj today qualified to their respective Finals. While Sajan finished second in the heats of Men’s 200 metres Butterfly event, Nataraj ended first in the Men’s 100 metres Backstroke qualification. The Finals will be held in the evening.
In Rowing, Om Prakash and Sawarn Singh qualified to the Men’s Double Sculls Finals with a first place finish in the heats. Malkeet Singh and Gurinder Singh also qualified to the Final in Men’s Pair event.
In Kabaddi, the Indian Women’s team began their campaign with a 43-12 win over Japan in their opening Group-A game.
In Women’s Basketball, India lost their opening group game against Chinese Taipei, 61-84.
The Indian Women’s Hockey team will kick off their campaign against Indonesia in the evening in their first Pool-B match.
In Badminton, world number eight Kidambi Srikanth will lead the Indian Men’s team when it faces the Maldives in the Round-of-16.
In Volleyball, the Indian eves will face South Korea in the opener.