Asian Games 2018

Asian Games torch relay completes 18 thousand km-long journey

Asian Games torch relay completes 18 thousand km-long journey

President Joko Widodo (right) passed on the Asian Games torch to INASGOC Chief Erick Thohir (left i) at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, Friday (17/8/2018). (ANTARA FOTO/Hafidz Mubarak A)

Jakarta  (ANTARA News) - The Asian Games 2018 torch relay has finally completed its one-month-long journey covering a total distance of 18 thousand kilometers and touring 53 cities and districts in 18 provinces across Indonesia.

Arriving in Jakarta on August 15, the torch was handed over to President Joko Widodo at Merdeka State Palace on Aug 17, coinciding with the celebration of the 73rd anniversary of Indonesia`s independence.

Flanked by Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, the President ran for a short distance to welcome the torch as it entered the gate of the palace and accepted it from Verawati Fajrin, a badminton legend from the 1980s.

Holding the torch in his right hand, President Jokowi, as he is also known, said, "I accept the torch to start the Asian Games 2018."

Also flanked by a line of athletes, President Jokowi then ran with the torch to the front of the honorary stage at the palace.

On the stage, he then handed over the torch to the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC) chief, Erick Tohir.

Tohir then ran with the torch out of the palace to the National Monument close to the palace where it will be kept for a night before it will be taken again and brought to the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium for the opening ceremony of the 18th Asian Games on August 18.

The presidential palace was the final stop of the torch relay after the torch toured the capital city for more than two days.

Two days earlier, Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan received the torch from a taekwondo gold medalist at the Jakarta City Hall in Central Jakarta.

"Alhamdulillah (Thank God), the Asian Games torch relay has been completed in Jakarta," Baswedan said.

Having hosted the Asian Games 56 years ago, Jakarta is now ready to organize the largest multi-sport event in Asia again this year, the governor said.

Some 200 dancers and a number of civil servants welcomed the torch in the city hall.

"We, the Indonesian people, should be proud of being able to host the Asian Games again this year, after the fifth Asian Games in 1962, 56 years ago," he remarked.

From the city hall, the torch relay on the following day proceeded to North Jakarta, where Justice and Human Rights Minister Yasonna Laoly and Manpower Minister Hanif Dhakiri joined the event.

Laoly carried the torch from the office of the North Jakarta mayor to the next checkpoint, while Dhakiri ran to the finish line at the Lake Sunter police office, said Junaedi, deputy mayor of the North Jakarta municipality.

The route of the torch relay in North Jakarta covers a total distance of 9.3 kilometers. The torch was carried by 20 people, including the two ministers, alternately.

On the previous day, the Asian Games` torch relay was enlivened by art performances when it arrived at the Indonesian Park In Miniature (TMII) in East Jakarta.

"The public enthusiastically welcomed the relay passing through Bogor Road, Pondok Gede, and TMII. Some 30 thousand people lined up along the roads to view the rally," East Jakarta Mayor Muhammad Anwar said on August 15.

Some five thousand junior and senior high school students were also among the crowd, welcoming the torch relay.

A number of students and local artistes performed traditional dances and cultural attractions, such as Reog Ponorogo, and a marching band also performed at the event.

After arriving in TMII and being kept at the recreational park for one hour, the torch was handed over to Environmental Affairs and Forestry Ministry Siti Nurbaya.

From TMII, the torch relay continued to TB Simatupang Road, and the flame was presented to Public Works and Public Housing Minister Budi Karya Sumadi for a parade in South Jakarta Municipality.

In South Jakarta, the relay saw the participation of a number of actresses and actors, such as Lukman Sardi, Yoga Anjasmara, and Sandra Olga, in addition to several noted athletes.

In fact, the 2018 Asian Games torch relay began its 18,000-kilometer-long journey on July 15, 2018, from the Major Dyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi, where the flame was lit for the first time at the inaugural edition in 1951.

The flame of the Asian Games torch was generated from a parabolic mirror directed straight at the sun in New Delhi, India, on July 15, 2018. On July 18 evening, the flame from India was merged with the eternal flame from Mrapen at the Pramanan Temple, Central Java Province, Indonesia.

The merging of the two flames was officiated by Vice President M. Jusuf Kalla, who later said that Indonesia was honored to be the host of the 18th Asian Games.

Starting from Yogyakarta on July 17, 2018, the torch`s route included Solo, Central Java Province; Blitar, Malang, Probolinggo, and Banyuwangi in East Java; Gilimanuk, Kuta, and Denpasar in Bali Province; Mataram in West Nusa Tenggara; Raja Ampat and Sorong in West Papua; Makassar in South Sulawesi; Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan; Banda Aceh in Aceh Province; Lake Toba in North Sumatra; Pekanbaru in Riau; Bukit Tinggi in West Sumatra; Jambi, Palembang, Banyuasin, and Prabumulih in South Sumatra; Bandar Lampung in Lampung; Serang in Banten; and Purwakarta, Bandung, Garut, Cianjur, and Bogor in West Java.

The torch rally involved at least 40 Indonesian sport legends, high ranking officials and celebrities such as badminton legend Susi Susanti, who went to New Delhi on July 14-16 to pick up the torch, another badminton legend Taufik Hidayat, Budi Hartono, Yustedjo Tarik, Yayuk Basuki, Herman Sembalo, Dian Sastrowardjoyo, and Rochy Putiray.

The 18th Asian Games will be held from August 18 to September 2 in Jakarta and Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra. It is the first time that two cities are co-hosting the Games, making it a more challenging task for the organizers, according to Tohir.

A total of 16,920 athletes and officials from 45 Asian countries have registered for the Games. Overall, more than 11,000 athletes will be vying for medals in 40 sports and 67 disciplines.