Goodbye Jakarta, welcome Hangzhou

Heavy rains did not douse the enthusiasm and the crowd kept asking for more.

The 18th Asian Games ended with a glittering ceremony in Jakarta on Sunday.   -  PTI

For nearly 15 minutes here on Sunday night, India had Indonesia dancing to its tune. As Sidharth Slathia belted out the popular Bollywood numbers ‘Kuch kuch hota hai’ and ‘Jai Ho’, the crowd lapped it up all hungrily at the GBK Main Stadium even as the curtains came down colourfully on the 18th Asian Games.

Heavy rain left the crowd drenched during the early part of the event but that did not douse the enthusiasm one bit as one star after another, including popular Indonesian singers Isyana Saraswati, Siti Badriah and Dira Sugandi had the crowd asking for more.

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With Jakarta bidding goodbye to the Asiad, the ancient Chinese city of Hangzhou welcomed all the athletes to the next Games which it will host in September 2022.

That could see China, already a sporting giant, sweeping many events, leaving very little for the rest. China was miles ahead of the others in the medal table here with 289 medals which included 132 golds. It also raced past the 3000-medal mark during the Games. Japan was far behind in the second spot with 205 medals (75 golds) while Korea was next with 177 (49 golds). India, despite its best-ever haul of 69 medals (15 golds), was eighth on the table.

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Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo and IOC President Thomas Bach were among those present at the function and OCA President Shaikh Ahmed al-Fahad, al-Sabah declared the Games closed.

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Earlier, 18-year-old Japanese swimmer Rikako Ikee, who won six gold and two silvers, was declared as the Most Valuable Player of the Games. No woman has ever won so many golds in a single edition of the Games.

“I was actually in shock when I heard I was being considered. I am so happy to have this beautiful award,” said Ikee.

For a country which did came in as a last-minute substitute to host the Games after Vietnam pulled out, Indonesia did a decent job. And with pencak silat making its debut at the Asiad and bringing it 14 golds, the host had a decent fourth place finish on the table