17th Asian Games, Incheon 2014 opened!

The opening ceremony of the 17th Asian Games, Incheon 2014 had been successfully held just now in the Incheon Asiad Main Stadium in front of over 60 000 spectators and millions of TV audiences across the globe. The ceremony was held from 7 pm to 10 pm (Korean time) for a duration of three hours in 19th September 2014 and that marked the commencement of the 16-day of competitions in Asia’s biggest sporting event that involves athletes from all the 45 Asian nations and territories.


Overall, the opening ceremony was held quite fantastically. It is not the best I have seen but it is something that South Korea should be proud of. A good job indeed. And after seeing many past opening ceremonies for a global sporting event in recent years, I can come to a conclusion that Asian cities do better than the West in terms of organizing wonderful ceremonies. I have no prejudice but it is true that Asian cities always make it right on delivering astonishing opening or closing ceremonies. Doha 2006 (Asiad), Beijing 2008 (Summer Olympics), New Delhi 2010 (Commonwealth), Guangzhou 2010 (Asiad), Singapore 2010 (Youth Olympics), Nanjing 2014 (Youth Olympics) can all be made examples. And now, Incheon 2014 (Asiad) can still be acceptable to join that list.


Before commenting on the show in the ceremony, I am already in awe of the newly-constructed Incheon Asiad Main Stadium. Its architecture is splendid. I like its undulating roof that continues all the way from the covering of the stadium to the plaza/park outside the stadium. It’s a perfect centre stage for the Incheon 2014 Asian Games. Let’s get back to the opening ceremony. I didn’t quite enjoy most of the performances delivered as I was actually left in blank over what the performers were trying to show to us. If there isn’t any commentators describing along the show in TV, I would not understand most of the story behind the performances. Perhaps, I believe things go too ‘deep’ and abstract for that, which the organizer should be aware in the first place. Besides that, the performances were nothing of incredible or breathtaking quality which will make the ceremony very much forgotten soon. There isn’t much display of clever synchronization or any things of strong impact or impression. This is what made most of the performances boring.


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However, I’m quite impressed with some performance segments like the one that introduced Incheon to the world from its busy port, world’s best airport, postal profession and phone telecommunication. It is also would be better if they includes more traditional Korean performances to cut short the lengthy soprano part that I start to find annoying after some time. I’m also amazed by the visual presentation on the stage’s floor that helped a lot to enhance the performances. In between the performances, there were those usual protocols; athletes parade (but the sequence of countries coming in is based on Korean alphabetical order this time), oath-taking, speeches, playing of national anthem, raising of flag of Olympic Council of Asia, and officiating remark by South Korea’s President, Madam Park Geun-Hye.

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Then, there came the Asiad torch. After being passed between several last torchbearers, the flame-carried torch finally landed on the hand of famous South Korean actress, Lee Young-ae (the one whom acted in popular series ‘Dae Jang Geum’, a massive hit across Asia). Together with two children, she lighted up the cauldron which is actually a fountain. A very creative and brilliant way of lighting the Asiad cauldron here. Wonderful. I am also quite happy with the pyrotechnics display over the stadium throughout the ceremony. Too bad, it’s a bit lesser than expected. And what’s better way concluding the opening ceremony with a show of K-pop sensation, as first, EXO, JYJ (and several others) and lastly, PSY entered the stage to entertain the crowd before everyone is leaving. And yea…the much anticipated ‘Gangnam Style’ (the most iconic and globally-hit Korean song) to end the show. That sets up a very great mood and atmosphere and worked very well to give an explosive last impression to everyone of the ceremony.


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And so, the games begin. Wishing all the best to my Malaysian team set to be competing in the next two weeks before the closing ceremony on 4th October 2014.

(Images in this post are from various sources throughout the world wide web)




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