Aug 13, 2018

The 2018 Asian Games: History & Present


The Asian Games 2018 is heading to the Emerald of the Equator, Indonesia. The 18th edition of the grand games is set to be hosted in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. This will be the first time in 56 years that the Games will return to Indonesia. 


Asian Games 2018 was not originally meant to be in Indonesia. Hanoi, Vietnam, was the favourite to host the games this year, but withdrew their bid due to economic reasons.


Indonesia seized the opportunity and will be hosting 462 events in the span of 16 days. If you’re not excited about the second biggest multi-sports event in the world, here’s a glimpse into the past to help you see what you’d be missing out on!


Swimming competition





The first-ever Asian Games was contested in 1951 in New Delhi, India. Back then, it was a simple week-long competition contested between 11 countries and 489 competitors.



Through the years, countries from across the continent ranging from Thailand, the Philippines, Iran, Indonesia, South Korea, China, Japan and Qatar have hosted the Games. Despite this diversity, the Games have faced crises from time to time, due to political, economic and religious issues. Israel is still excluded from participating in the Games, while Taiwan participates under the flag of Chinese Taipei.




Thailand has hosted the event a record five times, most recently in 1998. On two occasions, Thailand stepped in as host after the original countries backed out due to political or economic reasons. 


As of 2018, all 45 members affiliated to the Olympic Council of Asia are eligible to participate in the Asian Games.


Asian Games 2018 Mascot


About the Asian Games 2018:

The mascots for the 2018 Asian Games are Bhin Bhin (a Cenderawasih), Atung (a Bawean deer) and Kaka (a Javan Rhino). They represent Strategy, Speed and Strength. Apart from just this, the significance is that they’re from the Eastern, Central and Western parts of Indonesia, respectively, symbolizing unity of the nation. 


The torch was lit at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi, the site of the first-ever Asian Games. The torch will be transported by flight (yes, you read that right!) between July 18 and August 18, and will subsequently travel all around Indonesia before finally being lit at Jakarta on August 18.


There are 45 countries participating and 42 sports will be played; a record number! 11 sports are being added to the Asian Games this year, and some of them may surprise you! Check them out.


- Jiu Jitsu


Jiu Jitsu


- Sambo

- Bridge

- Jet Ski


Jeu Ski


- Pencak Silat

- Rollersports: Skateboarding and Rollerskating




- Basketball 3x3

- Kurash

- Rock Climbing

- Paragliding




eSports and Canoe Polo will be ‘Demonstration Sports’ this edition. Interestingly, while Jakarta and Palembang are the two host cities, certain sports, especially football, will spill over to other cities such as Bandung, Bogor, Bekasi, Cikarang, Subang and Depok, as well. 


The Asian Games is always a great way for the continent to identify fresh talent that will make a huge impact on the future athletics scene. Every nation is set to showcase their next generation of sports stars at this extremely competitive Games.


For Indonesia, this is just the first step. The Jakarta-Palembang President, Erick Thohir claims that Indonesia wants to host the 2032 Olympic Games, and hopes to discuss the subject with the IOC President during the Asian Games Closing Ceremony. Within Asia, Thohir says, India is the only competitor for the 2032 Olympics.  The 2022 Asian Games will be held in Hangzhou, China and the 2026 Games in Nagoya, Japan.


It’s still early days yet for the 2032 Olympic Games, of course, which are still 14 years away, but the Indonesian Asian Games 2018 will make for a fantastic sneak peek into the future. Tune in for a multicultural sporting extravaganza!



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