The 18th Asian Games finally commenced on August 18 with an epic and larger-than-life opening ceremony. Held at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium (GBK), Jakarta, the opening ceremony saw numerous splendid visual treats, such as President Jokowi’s dramatic entrance riding a cool motorcycle, breathtaking performances by Indonesia’s finest creative forces, and the parades of all 45 participating countries. The 2018 Asian Games opening ceremony will go down in history as one of the most epic and impressive openings ever. If you need a refresher on what went down, here are the six highlights.

Welcoming reception

Before entering the stadium, there was a welcoming reception especially for VIP guests, notable audience members, and other distinguished attendees. Held at the Fairmont Jakarta hotel nearby the stadium, the ceremony featured a number of traditional dance performances and a bright, enlightening speech by Coordinating Minister for Human Development and Cultural Affairs Puan Maharani.

The president’s bikeUpacara-Pembukaan-Asian-Games-180818-ds-1.JPG

Photo: Photo Courtesy of INASGOC/Dhoni Setiawan/tom/18

If you hadn’t realised it yet, our current president is full of exciting surprises. His dramatic entrance to Gelora Bung Karno stadium said it all. It started with a video screening of President Joko Widodo on his way to the stadium from the palace in his car. But, due to heavy traffic, he switched to ride a posh motorcycle (with impressive stunts, we might add). The end of the video led to the entrance of President Jokowi inside GBK stadium that left many jaws dropped and the Internet awash with awe and surprise.

Ratoh Jaroe dancePembukaan-Asian-Games-180818-JefriTarigan-03.jpg

Photo: Photo Courtesy of INASGOC/Jefri Tarigan/pras/18

The Ratoh Jaroe traditional dance from Aceh province turned millions of heads during the opening ceremony of the 18th Asian Games. Performed on the massive stage with a 3D mountain backdrop, the spectacular performance opened with 1,600 high-school dancers. With their traditional outfits and smashing choreograph routine by Denny Malik, the Ratoh Jaroe dance kick-started the 2018 Asian Games right off.

Parade of athletesOpening-Ceremony-Asian-Games-2018-180818-jm-6.JPG

 Photo: Photo Courtesy of INASGOC/Jessica Margaretha/pras/18

More than 44 National Olympic Committee (NOC) contingents and over 6,000 athletes took part in the opening ceremony parade. The parade started off with Afghanistan, leading to Bahrain and Bangladesh. These were followed by the Maldives, Brunei, and Cambodia who got a loud cheer from the audience. Next came Hong Kong, China, and India, accompanied by the CWG 2018 gold medal winner Neeraj Chopra.

Meanwhile, the entrance of North and South Korea together stunned the audience, marking a historical moment. Halfway through came Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, and Qatar followed by Singapore, Sri Lanka, Syria, then Taiwan, Tajikistan, Thailand, Timor Leste, and the United Arab Emirates kept the marching game strong for Vietnam and Yemen. Finally, Indonesia’s troupe closed the Parade of Nations with loud cheers, accompanied by Indonesian swimmer I Gede Siman Sudartawa and basketball player Arki Wisnu carrying the national flag.

Archipelago performancesOpening-Ceremony-Asian-Games-2018-180818-RES-6.jpg

Photo: Photo Courtesy of INASGOC/Ridhwan Siregar/Spt/18

Whether it was the stage décor, the singing, dancing, or the traditional costumes, the opening ceremony was a parade of our archipelago’s culture and heritage. Another highlight of the performance was the the participation of 18 leading Indonesian artists and celebrities from across all genres. From Via Vallen, Tulus, Anggun, Rinni Wulandari, Raisa, Putri Ayu, and Rossa to Maruli Tampubolon and Grammy Award-nominee Joey Alexander, all made their country proud that night. Via Vallen performed the 18th Asian Games theme song “Meraih Bintang”, while singer Tulus took centre stage and belted out our country’s national anthem “Indonesia Raya” watched by more than 40,000 spectators.

Behind the stageUpacara-Pembukaan-Asian-Games-2018-180818-OM-3.jpg

 Photo: Photo Courtesy of INASGOC/Oscar Motuloh/hp/18.

The outstanding opening ceremony happened due to the enormous efforts and creative forces of our own champions, such as Wishnutama, Eko Supriyanto, Denny Malik, Ronald Steven, Addie MS, Dynand Fariz, and Rinaldy Yunardi, among others. Their hard work and determination has made the 18th Asian Games opening ceremony a once-in-a-lifetime event.

See also: 8 Sporty Fashion Ideas To Wear At Asian Games 2018

Banner: Photo Courtesy to INASGOC/Dhoni Setiawan/tom/18. 

Tags: Indonesia, Jokowi, Gelora Bung Karno, President, Palembang, 18th Asian Games, Asian Games, Senayan