India wrapped up its campaign at the 18th Asian Games with a bronze in men’s hockey. It was medal number 69, the country’s highest ever tally at the Games. However, women’s hockey had stolen the limelight from the men, giving India a silver medal in the process. Fittingly, it was Rani Rampal, the women’s hockey captain, who was chosen to carry India’s flag at the closing ceremony on September 2.
The ceremony began with a bang, with fireworks lighting up Jakarta’s night sky. The Indonesian national anthem was played. Among the dignitaries was International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach. The rain poured, but failed to dampen the spirit of those gathered. The Indonesian contingent walked in first, followed by the other athletes, most of whom had raincoats on.
A highlights package of all the events played as singer Isyana Sarasvati sang her heart out.
This was followed by an address by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and a video package showing those who were affected by the recent earthquake in Lombok, Indonesia.
Olympic Council of Asia Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla also addressed the gathering.
The Asian Games flag was brought down and Indonesia formally handed it over to China, which will host the next Asian Games in Hangzhou in 2022. A video hyping the next edition of the Games was played.
Several musical performances followed, including a song by Indian singer Sidharth Slathia. Indonesian singer Denada joined him, singing in Hindi. Slathia sang Shah Rukh Khan songs, which sent the Indonesians into a frenzy. They were singing and dancing along. Then came A.R. Rahman’s Jai Ho, which again received a massive response.
There was also a heavy dose of K-pop and a lot of fireworks. The ceremony ended with all the performers on stage, and the official theme song of the Asian Games. A memorable Asian Games for India, indeed.