Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah makes a 'heart' sign during the closing ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta on Sunday (02/09). (JG Photo/Yudha Baskoro)

Indonesia Closes 2018 Asian Games; Hangzhou to Host Next Event in 2022


SEPTEMBER 03, 2018

Jakarta. Indonesia closed the 2018 Asian Games on Sunday evening (02/09) with a heartwarming ceremony that highlighted the country's spirit, unity and compassion on one of the world's biggest sporting stages.

Vice President Jusuf Kalla led the closing ceremony at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, trading places with President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo, who sent his closing remarks via live feed from a refugee tent in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, where he watched the closing ceremony with victims of last month's deadly earthquakes.

"Asian Games 2018 has reached its end, but the energy and spirit of Asia will not be extinct. Thank you for all country contingents. This is the real spirit of Asia, united to bring the goodness to the world," Jokowi said.

In his speech, Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah thanked Indonesia for hosting the event.

"You made the Asian dream of 'Energy of Asia' come true," he said, adding that the success of the event shows Indonesia has the ability to host any major event, including the 2032 Olympics.

The Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (Inasgoc) sold 75,000 tickets for Sunday's closing festival in the Gelora Bung Karno Sports Complex, but only 51,000 spectators would be allowed inside the main stadium for the closing ceremony, Erick Thohir, chairman of the organizing committee, said on Saturday.

More than 9,400 members of the National Police and the Indonesian Military (TNI) were deployed to secure the closing ceremony, which was more than the number of personnel that secured the opening ceremony, due to the enthusiasm among the public to witness the event.

Speaking on behalf of the government and the people of Indonesia, Kalla called the athletes who participated in this year's event "the heroes of Asia."

Jokowi and Kalla both praised the Indonesia's athletes, who put the country in fourth place in the final medal count. Having secured 31 gold, 24 silver and 43 bronze medals, it is Indonesia's best achievement yet at the world's second largest multisport event.

While the opening ceremony focused on Indonesia's identity as a nation, Erick said the closing ceremony would be a "celebration of Asia."

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan, South Sumatra Governor Alex Noerdin and Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister Puan Maharani represented Indonesia in a ceremony that saw the Asian Games flag being handed to a representative of the Chinese Olympic Committee and Xu Liyi, the mayor Hangzhou, which will host the event in 2022.

Chinese swimming champion Sun Yang and Alibaba founder Jack Ma appeared on center stage to extend an invitation on behalf of the next host.

Korean boybands iKON and Super Junior and Indian singer Siddarth Slathia were among several artist who performed in a music show that featured popular songs from South Korea, India and Indonesia.

"See you at Hangzhou 2022," Kalla said in his closing remarks.