You get to learn new things every day. And with the 2018 Asian Games coming to an end, I personally feel like I bade farewell to my fellow “classmates” who had taught us valuable knowledge — from sports to geography, culture and creative industry — over the past three weeks.
Although the Games officially ran from Aug. 18 to Sept. 2, some sports such as soccer, basketball and handball started even before the opening ceremony. Some may have known and heard about handball, but not many are familiar with the sport. It was an eye-opening moment for us at home — and the venue — to learn handball as it was aired on TV.
This was also the case with kabaddi, a traditional physical team sport believed to originate from India. The sport, which resemblances an Indonesian traditional game known as gobak
sodor in Greater Jakarta or galasin in the western part of Java, drew the attention of many. “Hey, it really looks like galasin. I played it when I was in elementary school,” a friend of mine commented, while all smiling in nostalgia, when we happened to watch the sport on TV together.
Those who had the opportunity to watch track cycling races at the newly revamped Jakarta International Velodrome in Rawamangun, East Jakarta, were all in fascination over both the performance of Asia’s best and the shiny venue.
Hong Kong’s Lee Wai Sze and Japan’s Yumi Kajihara were among the stars in the women’s category at the Games. Lee, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist in keirin discipline, won keirin and sprint gold medals at the Asian Games, while 2016 Asian champion Kajihara took the omnium’s gold.
The competitors in the track cycling were way above the level of the home cyclists. Nevertheless, as athletes, the Indonesians won valuable experience to compete against Asian greats and learn from the champions’ fighting spirit and hard work.
In return, Indonesia also had a well displayed traditional sport that stole the world’s attention. Yes, I’m talking about pencak silat, a form of martial arts, the origin of which is shared by several Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia and Brunei.
Indonesia reigned supreme by winning 14 golds out of 16 on offer in the competition held at Padepokan Pencak Silat training
center near Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII) cultural park in East Jakarta.
Pencak silat contributed nearly a half of Indonesia’s gold collection of 31. The sport also displayed a rare moment of unity in the lead-up to the 2019 presidential race as President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and his contender
Prabowo Subianto ended up having a group hug while celebrating the country’s victory on Aug. 29.
Hanifan Yudani Kusuma, the gold medalist in men’s Class C (55 kg to 60 kg), unified the two political figures, who turned up in their capacity as the head of state and the chairman of the Indonesian Pencak Silat Association (IPSI) respectively.
Pencak silat became the talk of the world when Twitter exposed it and made it into a worldwide trending topic, like tweets from the badminton fandom following the world-class shuttlers’ action.
Indonesian badminton came under the spotlight thanks to the all-Indonesian final in the men’s doubles, which was won by world number one pair Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo.
In the men’s singles, Indonesia’s Jonatan Christie defied the odds en route to claiming the gold medal – although it was his bare body show-off celebration rather than his victory that went viral.
The Asian Games, the secondlargest multisport event after the Olympics, featured 45 national Olympic committees this year, plus the newly formed Team Unified Korea. Apart from the regular participants, we might know a little bit about Bhutan and Mongolia, among other less familiar countries.
My colleague immediately googled Bhutan as his work involved the country’s name. “[The Asian Games] have Bhutan [in competition]? Where is it located anyway?” he said, while opening the Google Map app.
In Jakarta, many students whose schools were closed for the Games, were deployed to sports venues to support competing athletes, wrote about sports and geography as their homework. “They can write about certain sports and what Indonesia has achieved. As for geography, they can profile certain countries [which took part in the Games],” acting head of Jakarta Education Agency Bowo Irianto said.
The opening and closing ceremonies were not less mesmerizing.
We learned that the opening ceremony was a massive production, involving thousands of performers who trained for months for a three-hour show only. The opening was also made merrier by exciting faces from the participants in the parade, including Unified Korea.
In the closing ceremony, the audience — both at venue and home — were entertained by Asian megastars such as Super Junior and iKON along with top Indonesian talents.
To wrap up the Games in style, President Jokowi announced Indonesia’s bid to host the 2032 Olympics, following the Asian Games success. [nkn]
also read: http://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2018/09/03/asiad-corner-bidding-farewell-enriching-class-2018-asian-games.html