Jakarta: Indonesia is all set to roll out a grand opening ceremony as the Asian Games returns home after a long gap of 58 years. For the first time, the Games will be staged in two cities with the Indonesian capital Jakarta and Palembang being the venues.
Only the withdrawal of Vietnam in 2014, gave the South East nation a chance to host the showpiece event. But that has not hindered the preparations and there is a buzz ahead of the mega event.
China are expected to rule the roost yet again, while South Korea and Japan are expected to battle it out for the second spot. China had won a whopping 151 gold medals at the last edition at Incheon, while hosts South Korea came second with 79 golds pushing Japan (47 golds) to second place. The Japanese are keen to clinch the second spot ahead of the 2020 Olympics which Tokyo will be hosting.
Hosts Indonesia have fielded a jumbo 951-member squad and the South East Asians are hoping to make it a memorable one both on the organisational and sporting front.
India too are eyeing an improvement from the eighth-place finish at Incheon and there is genuine belief that the country can put up a fine show this time around.
The Opening Ceremony will be held at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium or GBK here on Saturday evening (7 pm local time and 5.30 pm IST). The ceremony will be attended by Indonesian president Joko Vidodo.
Indonesian jazz pianist teen sensation Joey Alexander will be one of the star attractions of the Opening Ceremony. The ceremony is expected to showcase the country’s rich and diverse culture. Dance and music performances from the Indonesian provinces promise to make it a grand affair for the 40,000-odd spectators.
The slogan of the Games is Energy of Asia and the next fortnight will witness the cream of the continent's sporting talents strive for excellence.