Asian Games 2018 Opening Ceremony Highlights: As it Happened | August 18, 2018, 8:09 PM IST
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Live Updates: The 18th Asian Games that will be jointly hosted by two cities for the first time ever, kicks off on Sunday, with the opening ceremony at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta.

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Aug 18, 2018 7:45 pm (IST)

Meanwhile, the Asian Games flame has been lit by Susi Susanti, Indonesia's Gold Medallist shuttler from the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. That's it from today. Do join us at 8am on Sunday as an action packed day awaits. 

Aug 18, 2018 7:34 pm (IST)

One the biggest attractions for India at the Games will be Sushil Kumar. He hasn't been in the best of form and had recently lost a bout too. He reacted to the loss and said, "So what. There will be defeats and victories in sportsman's life. Real athlete is the one who stands up after defeat, prepares harder and come back. Real athlete is one who takes the mat after winning also. I am trying to do the same. I have prepared well for the Asian Games but I am not out there to prove anything. Proving yourself is not sportsmanship," Sushil, who will compete in the 74kg category in Jakarta, said.

Aug 18, 2018 7:22 pm (IST)

World sports bodies led by the IOC and FIFA suspended Kuwait in October 2015 for a second time since 2010 for political interference in sport. The IOC said that in reinstating Kuwait provisionally that it "acknowledged the progress" and the "positive discussions with the Government of Kuwait". Al Musallam said Kuwait did not have much time to prove it was trying to meet IOC requirements. "We are going to review the situation with the IOC on October 3 and 4 to see if any of the agreement has been implemented on the ground, or if there is nothing," said Al Musallam. "We really hope this thing will be finished."

Aug 18, 2018 7:09 pm (IST)

But the IOC said that despite its "gesture of goodwill" the reasons for its original suspension remained valid. "This is a world record for government interference in the Olympic movement, no country is like this," OCA director general Husain Al Musallam told AFP after an executive board meeting discussed the matter in Jakarta.

Aug 18, 2018 7:00 pm (IST)

Meanwhile, Kuwait was warned by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) on Saturday to stop its "world record" of government interference in sport or face being exiled for a third time. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) this week provisionally lifted its ban on Kuwait, allowing the Gulf state's athletes to march under their own flag at Saturday's Asian Games opening ceremony in Jakarta.

Aug 18, 2018 6:51 pm (IST)
Aug 18, 2018 6:47 pm (IST)

For India the action starts on Sunday. The main attraction of the will be in shooting and wrestling. Here are the medal events and timings for the same:

10m Air Rifle Mixed Team (Apurvi Chandela/Ravi Kumar): Qualifications 8 am IST onwards, final 12 pm IST onwards
10m Air Pistol Mixed Team (Manu Bhaker/Abhishek Verma): Qualifications: 10am IST onwards, final 3.20 pm IST onwards  
Men’s Freestyle qualifications 12 pm IST onwards, Medal rounds 6 pm IST onwards

Aug 18, 2018 6:36 pm (IST)

The Indonesian flag goes up. That marks the start of the 18th Asian Games. This must be a proud moment for a nation who's hosting the prestigious games only for the second time. The first occasion was way back in 1962.

Aug 18, 2018 6:32 pm (IST)
Aug 18, 2018 6:30 pm (IST)

Time for a performance by Indonesian singing sensation Via Vallen. She has brought the crowd on its feet as the Indonesian contingent surrounds her.  

Aug 18, 2018 6:25 pm (IST)
This is what happened when the Indonesian contingent made their way to the stadium.
Aug 18, 2018 6:23 pm (IST)

The loudest cheer is reserved for host nation Indonesia. The President gives a standing ovation to the contingent. These are great scenes that are unfolding here at the moment.

Aug 18, 2018 6:13 pm (IST)

For the very first time, Indian women ditched the traditional sari for crisp looking blazers and trousers. 

Aug 18, 2018 6:09 pm (IST)

Big news coming in from Iran and Iraq as for the very first time they have women as their flag-bearers in the opening ceremony. For Iran, shooter Elaheh Ahmadi got the top honour of leading the contingent. 

Aug 18, 2018 6:04 pm (IST)

One of the biggest attraction of the day is North Korea and South Korea coming out together as one team. They'd be taking part together in some of the team events together. 

Aug 18, 2018 6:00 pm (IST)

This is how India made an entry into the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium for the opening ceremony. 

Aug 18, 2018 5:57 pm (IST)
Aug 18, 2018 5:55 pm (IST)

Here comes the Indian contingent led by javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra. What a proud moment for the 20-year-old Haryana boy who burst on to the scene by winning the junior World Championships gold in 2016. 

Aug 18, 2018 5:54 pm (IST)

We have moved to China now. Once again they will look to be among the medals and finish on top of the medals table, unchallenged. They have sent 845 members to the games. Expect a gold rush from them. 

Aug 18, 2018 5:50 pm (IST)

The march past has started and first up is the war torn nation of Afghanistan. They'll have over 100 athletes participating in the games. Just before the start of the games they had made an appeal to the the Indians to support sport in their country like the way they have supported cricket.   

Aug 18, 2018 5:44 pm (IST)

And the opening ceremony gets underway. The performances have begun in the presence of Indonesian President Joko Widodo. Post the performances the march past of the 45 participating nations will begin. 

Aug 18, 2018 5:33 pm (IST)

Images on social media of Indian athletes gearing up for the opening ceremony are pouring in. The latest one is India's quarter-mile sensation Hima Das.

#Finally forwarding to the prestigious moment today#Opening Ceremony #Team India #Being Indian #Asian Games 2k18, Jakarta, Indonesia

— Hima Das (@HimaDas8) August 18, 2018
Aug 18, 2018 5:28 pm (IST)
Bajrang The Key As Wrestlers Aim To Improve Asiad Showing

In Incheon, it was Yogeshwar Dutt who won gold, but this time around it's his protégé, Bajrang Punia, who's been tagged as a favourite to win the yellow metal in the 65 kg category.

Aug 18, 2018 5:22 pm (IST)
Asian Games 2018: Teenagers Target Asiad Glory

Indian shooters suffered a major setback when organisers of the 18th Asian Games trimmed several of their events for the competition in Jakarta-Palembang.

Aug 18, 2018 5:15 pm (IST)

We are just minutes away from the start of the opening ceremony. Asian Games 2018 could be a good indicator of how our Indian players will perform in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Let's keep our fingers crossed.  

Aug 18, 2018 5:10 pm (IST)

Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar too sent his best wishes to the Indian contingent. He tweeted: 

Aug 18, 2018 5:04 pm (IST)

The Indian boxing contingent departed the country high on confidence, with veteran boxer Vikas Krishnan calling it one of the best contingents ever at the send-off ceremony. The mood in the camp looks good too, eh?

Aug 18, 2018 4:57 pm (IST)

After the usual confusion that precedes the departure of an Indian contingent for a big sports event, aren't we glad that that we can finally get on with the games? Indian Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra will be India's flag bearer at the opening ceremony. Looks like he's certainly looking forward to the games!

Aug 18, 2018 4:34 pm (IST)

Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games! It is the first time that the Asian Games will be held across two cities (Jakarta and Palembang), and the Indian contingent will be out in full force at the opening ceremony, leading up to the action that starts tomorrow. Stay tuned for continuous updates.

Asian Games 2018 Opening Ceremony Highlights: As it Happened
Catch all the updates of the Asian Games 2018 opening ceremony through our live blog.

10,000 athletes and officials from 45 nations will compete in 40 disciplines in the Games that will be held between August 18 - September 2 in the twin venues of Jakarta and Palembang. The parade of athletes is likely to begin around 6.15 PM IST, with javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra as the flag bearer of the Indian contingent. The opening ceremony is expected to feature popular Indonesian singers Anggun, Raisa, Tulus, Edo Kondologit, Putri Ayu and Via Vallen. The ceremony stage is believed to have a mountain as its backdrop, accompanied by plants and flowers unique to the host nation. The stage, made by Indonesian artists, will be where 4000 dancers will be performing.

572 Indian athletes, about 200 of who are aged 18-23, will aim to give the country a better finish than the 2014 edition of the Games in Incheon where they finished eighth with 57 medals in all. India’s build up to the competition has been messy to say the least, but the performance of youngsters such as Neeraj Chopra, Hima Das and Manu Bhaker gives India plenty of hope. Medals are expected from shooting and wrestling even though the competition is as good as the Olympics or the World Championships. That apart, the track and field stars, badminton players and hockey teams would hope to find themselves on the podium.

The competition won’t be as easy as the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast earlier this year where India had it second best showing, but it certainly threw up new talent across disciplines who have shown the potential to beat the best in Asia.

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