It was a spectacular climax to the 16th Asian Games, as China showcased the power and splendour of Asia, with a befitting closing ceremony, on the magnificent platform at the Haixinsha Island on Saturday. It was time to celebrate the success of the athletes and the success of the Games.

The torch tower and flame glowing in all its glory on the cauldron standing in front of the eight huge sail-boat television screens depicting the salient features of the 45 nations, the 610-metre Canton tower looking down majestically on one side, the fireworks lighting up the sky, the beautifully decorated and colourfully lit boats on sail on the river on one side, the city lit up nicely in the background, it was another spell-binding performance with emphasis on dance and music.

Merry dance

The audience was floored by a sequence of songs, including one in Hindi ‘saajan ki ghar aayi' with the Chinese women in different costumes dancing merrily, depicting the conglomeration of the different cultures of the region.

The sea, with the sails, boats, children on six stands swaying to the beats, sometimes with lighted stars in their hands made for an unforgettable spectacle.

The Chinese continued to play with water. There was a boat that came out from water on the big stage and set sail with people waving. The platform opened up for a water channel and it was time for the boat to move from land to water.

Memorable moments

There was the formation of a huge flower under the torch tower, and people danced all around in different costumes, leading to a Dragon dance that won a huge round of applause.

The moments will be etched in memory for the 35,000 audience, lucky to be present at the arena, able to imbibe the whole picture, quite impossible for the biggest of television screens, and the best of modern movie cameras, to capture in one frame.

The athletes marched in with satisfaction, and quite appropriately boxer Vijender Singh carried the Indian flag into the arena. The volunteers walked up on the stage and were presented flowers by children as a token of appreciation for their splendid effort in making the Games a success.

The president of the Olympic Council of Asia, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, was all praise for the host, and played the mediator in handing over the first Asian Games torch, the first Asian Games flag and the first OCA flag from the hosts to the team from Korea, the host for the next edition in Incheon in 2014.

The OCA president summed up by saying, “the many moments of excitement, in one of the most outstanding edition in the history of the Games, would be reduced to memory to be shared by all.”

City of sport

He said that the Guangzhou, the City of Flowers would be remembered henceforth as the “city of sport and peace.”

He declared the Games closed, and announced that the youth icons would meet again after four years, and celebrate the 17th Asian Games in Korea.

The Koreans took over the stage, and gave glimpses of what they would show as hosts, with a bunch of songs and a spell of dance, that included martial arts and acrobatics.

Soon, there was a lighted boat that sailed in mid air, as if it had descended from the skies, moving close to the cauldron. A lady waved from the boat and was seen projecting as if she was pouring water. The fire in the cauldron vanished, and the boat sailed away towards the Canton tower, merging into the night. The fireworks exploded in the sky. Well done Guangzhou. See you in Incheon.

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