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The Asiad Closing Ceremony – As it happened

Fireworks explode over the stage to begin the closing ceremony of the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou on Saturday. Photo: AP

Fireworks explode over the stage to begin the closing ceremony of the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou on Saturday. Photo: AP  

The brilliant Opening Ceremony, meant expectations for the Closing Ceremony were high. And Guangzhou did not disappoint. Apart from the creativity and coordination, traditional elements like handing over the flag to Incheon, the next host, and the extinguishing of the flame left a warm afterglow at the Closing Ceremony of the 16th Asian Games.

Another world event comes to a close. Swaroop, Ashwin and I thank you for this wonderful opportunity. It was a pleasure giving you updates from the Games and interacting with you as we did it, made it more relevant and enjoyable. I hope you enjoyed our coverage. I hope we meet again.

19:20: The city of flowers has now spread its fragrance all across the world of sport. The 16th Asian Games has been an event to remember, from spectacular start, to glorious finish.

19:19: The fireworks seem never-ending. The land-sea arena is putting up a show for 40,000 spectators and the millions of viewers across the globe.

19:18: The TV tower, which seemed to me to have been pulsating for most of the evening, is now a spiral of fire, a red dragon. The giant sails all sport Guangzhou's traditional flower.

19:17: The flame of the 16th Asian Games dims, dies. And Guangzhou erupts in light

19:16: Elements from the Opening Ceremony come together - the palm leaf boy, the singing school children, the giant petals. A farewell song is sung

19:13: The giant LEDs say 'Welcome to Incheon'.

19:09: 'Rain' is one of Korea's leading entertainers. He's also starred in a couple of major Hollywood motion pictures - 'Speed Racer' and the more recent and much more bloody 'Ninja Assassin'.

19:06: Sounds like a hit bnumber; the Korean athletes can't stop dancing. Oh, it's a medley now.

19:05: Fan dancers, Taekwando. Korean pop star Rain is dressed in leather. He brings some mean moves to the floor.

19:03: Incheon is on stage, a glimpse of what to expect four years hence. Blend of the traditional and the ultra-modern. A song and dance sequence - the song sung in hard rock style, a metal-head dummer rupping away with drumsticks on fire. I didn't mean the 'on fire' part figuritively.

18:59: A stiff breeze ripples through the Korean flag, picture perfect. I wonder if Guangzhou arranged for the wind as well. Incheon has been handed over the privilege and the responsibility of hosting the next edition of the Games. The Incheon mayor waves the scroll of the first Asian Games, New Delhi.

18:56: In with the new - the mayor of Incheon, Korea, comes forward to recieve the Asian Games flag. Incheon will host the 17th Asian Games. The national anthem of the Republic of Korea.

18:55: As the Asiad draws to a close, what's the mood in China like? Ananth Krishnan, our correspondent in Beijing writes in: Looking at Chinese newspapers and talking to folks on the street, there's a sense of quiet satisfaction about the last few days - the Games pretty much delivered on every count. The host nation dominated the medal count, the organisation went off without a hitch, and Guangzhou kept up its promise of wowing the rest of Asia.

The Games will be missed most perhaps in Chinese living rooms -- as you'd expect, it has dominated the airwaves, with at least four local television channels showing live broadcasts of popular events like volleyball and basketball, and millions tuning in every evening.

18:52: A lull among the audience. The lowering of the flag is next on the agenda. The Olympic Games Council (Asia) president declares the 16th Asian Games closed. A poignant moement.

18:50: Ananth Krishnan on volunteers - Its good to see the volunteers finally get their share of the limelight during this closing ceremony. Lets spare a thought for the more than 500,000 college students from Guangzhou and all over China who've worked behind the scenes these past few weeks - and for little reward. On a recent visit to Guangzhou, I was stunned by how efficient (and ubiquitous) the volunteers were, working long shifts and obviously, for no pay (I was told the only rewards were free lunches and dinners). I was also struck by their pride in the Games - some credit goes to the organisers too for the massive volunteer training programmes that kept them motivated.

18:48: He pays tribute to the volunteers, without whom the games would not have been possible. Fitting indeed.

18:46: Sheik Ahmad says thank you in Chinese. This edition has been one of the most outstanding in the history of the event, he says.

18:42: The athletes have all taken their place. The dignitaries on stage in focus now. The Olympic Council of Asia president, Sheik Ahmad Al Fahad, and the Mayor of Guangzhou.

18:39: The Asian Games Guangzhou has been the stage for some incredible stories of success, as well as failure. For instance, Park Sung Baek, who had maintained a clear lead through most of the match, swerved in front of Hong Kong's Po near the finish line. He was pushed to 19th place for this infringement.

18:37: The artists still stream in - this was the biggest Asian Games so far, and probably the biggest ever. The next edition of the Asiad will have 35 sports as against the 42 this time.

18:34: Uzbekistan, Iran, Kyrgizstan, Mongolia, Macau, Pakistan and a flood of digital cameras. There's at least one for every three athletes here.

18:32: There they are, the Indians - I see Preeja, Manjeet, the men's volleyball team. Athletes too busy tio smile and wave to notice where they're going. More than one nation lost its way, bumped into another Asian competitor. They don't mind at all

18:30: The athletes arrive - they look a lot more relaxed than they were during the Opening Ceremony. The medallists and others alike, caught up in the celebration.

18:28: The flags arrive first, the athletes will saunter in later, to take their place behind the flags. There's India. China comes in at the rear

18:26: As the dragons arrested our view, the stage has been set for the arrival of the athletes.

18:24: Vintage China now - Dragon Dance, or wu long as it is called.

18:22: The giant petals are back. They were used to great effect during the opening ceremony. Thousands of participants on stage, with 41 different styles of costumes. The theme song comes to a close, fireworks erupt.

18:20: Here's what our Special Correspondent Ananth Krishnan brings us from Beijing - Huge cheers for Tanya Gupta, a singer from Jammu and Kashmir, and her grand Bollywood troupe of locally-trained Chinese dancers. The cheers aren't all that surprising given the fascination many Chinese have for Indian dance and cinema, a hangover from the 1950s when Indian films were a craze here. The reception for Tanya today shows the passion is still there, as I myself discovered when travelling with a Bollywood troupe recently. You can catch that experience >here.

18:17: The river is the stage now - logos of the Games, Olympic council, projected onto the water. "Sunshine Again", one of the theme songs of the Asiad 2010

18:16: Brilliant work from the audience again. They're a field now, blowing in the wind

18:14: Two Mongolian singers break into song. It's springtime on the LEDs.

18:12: Mongolia. Striking routine - all performers carrying with them an er-hu, a stringed instrument, like a violin. The dancers wield their er hus and gyrate in time with the chief er huist's performance.

18:10: Whoever concieved of the audience's part is a visionary. They've formed striking backgrounds to every performance

18:07: A Lebanese children's song, catchy tune, distinctly arabic. The Children are dancing without reservation. They seem quite comfortable with the tambourines, playing it with their hands and hips

18:05: Lebanon comes in next, with an exotic routine - beauty in chaos - 50 children surround a man on stilts dressed in a costume to represent spring.

18:04: The dancers form a heart, with the grail at the centre. The song fades away.

18:02: The dancers form a giant eye, with the Games grail at it's centre. The boat moves out slowly.

17:59: Indonesia on stage now - they perform to the song "Sing Sing So". Viewed from tio, the dancers simulate birds in flight. The singers arrive on a boat that seems to be made of the river itself.

17:58: She just grazed ultrasonics with her voice at the finish.

17:56: A Celebrity Kazakh opera singer throws her voice into the audience. Vocal virtuosity. It's galloping horses now on the LEDs.

17:54: Using every corner of the stage, eight huge rectangles transform into a mountain range, converge to form two circles. The music has a strong oriental flavour to it, a sharp rhythm

17:52: Kazakhstan's performers, 100 of them, rush in to take their place on stage. Kazakh Children simulate horse riding, sword-fighting.

17:47: The song's reaching a crescendo now. The singer, a woman, is from Jammu.

17:43: Schezwan Bollywood. Oriental dancers in Ghagra dance to 'Saajanji Ghar Aaye'. Animated Elephants on the giant LED sails.

17:39: A thousand members in the audience simulate a sea of light. They make waves with perfect sync. A Chinese children's song.

17:38: The boy takes his glowing baton, and conducts the choir.

17:36: A boy and a girl walk along with a firecracker and a flower, then hand it over to Chinese veteran sportsmen. Looks like a farewell tradition

17:33: The Chinese National Anthem is sung, the flag raised. The first performance - "Leave Your Song Here", by choirs from all over Asia.

17:31: Beautiful. The countdown - fireworks shotting from the 600 metre tall TV tower. The Ceremony has begun.

17:30: The Closing Ceremony will begin in just a minute. We're back at the Haixinsha island, the venue for the Opening Ceremony of the event. The stadium is packed, the dignitaries are taking their place on the stage

Ni hao, huan ying. That’s Mandarin for hello, happy to welcome you. It’s Guangzhou, folks, and time for the closing ceremony of the 16th Asian Games. It’s unusual, looking forward to the end of an event, but the fabulous opening ceremony of the Games justifies it.

I hope you did catch that extravaganza. You didn't? Well, then here's the >opening ceremony. For the sports action that you might have missed today, click >here .

Our shooters this time misfired, winning just one Gold in the double trap event. Ranjan Sodhi the architect of that medal. Click >here for that report.

Then there's Vikram Khade's bronze in the 50m butterfly event. Doesn't sound spectacular? Well, consider this, this is the first Indian swimming medal at the Asian Games in 24 years! Read that report >here.

India also won a gold in rowing. Bajrang Lal Takhar won that medal on borrowed equipment. >Here's that story.

India's tennis champ Somdev Devvarman was on a Gold quest too - He and Sanam Singh won the men's doubles title, click >here for that report. And an incredible singles match as well. Click >here to find out how he made history.

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Printable version | Jul 10, 2020 7:46:51 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/The-Asiad-Closing-Ceremony-ndash-As-it-happened/article15718476.ece

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