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Asian Games come to a close, baton handed over to Indonesia

Curtains were today brought down on the 17th Asian Games here as this South Korean coastal city bids goodbye to the athletes and officials from 45 countries, including from India, in a dazzling closing ceremony after a fortnight of high-voltage action.

An impressive cultural extravaganza, which enthralled the spectators who braved cold winds to make it to the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium, preceded the formal closing delivered by Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.

“I declare the 17th Asian Games closed and as per the tradition I call upon the youth of Asia to assemble in four years time in Jakarta, Indonesia, to celebrate the 18th Asian Games there in accordance with the ideals of the Olympic Council of Asia. May the youth of Asia ever celebrate the Asian Games in the spirit of brotherhood and for the good of humanity,” OCA chief Sheikh Ahmad Al-Sabah said to herald the end of the Incheon Games.

“Thank you Incheon, thank you Korea, thank you Asia,” he said while concluding his address to the cheers of the crowd before doing a ‘Mobot’ celebration in the style of British Olympic distance running champion Mo Farah.

World sports powerhouse China topped the medals table for the ninth time on the trot in the 36-discipline Games with yet another staggering haul of 342 medals, that included 151 gold, though 48 less than what they pocketed at home four years ago in Guangzhou.

India, second only to China in population, finished 8th on the medals table with a total haul of 57, comprising 11 gold, 9 silver and 37 bronze. Four years ago, the country had finished higher in 6th position with 14 gold meals, 17 silver and 34 bronze.

As part of the formal closing, the OCA flag was lowered and the OCA hymn was played before the baton was handed over to the host country of the next Asian Games four years hence, Indonesia. The Games’ flame was doused before fireworks erupted to signal the conclusion of the two-and-half hour ceremony.


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