The 18the edition of the Asian Games, also known as Asiad, will kick off from August 18 to September 2 in the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang. Around 10,000 athletes from 45 countries will participate in 40 sports throughout the tournament. The opening and closing ceremonies of the 18th edition of the prestigious event will take place at the Gelora Bung Karno Main Stadium in Jakarta.

The first edition of the Asian Games was held in New Delhi in 1951. This will be the second time that Indonesia will host the Asian Games after the Jakarta Asian Games in 1962. Also, this is the first time that the games are being hosted by two cities together.

As far as India is concerned, 572 athletes will participate in 36 sports in the tournament. Star javelin thrower has been named as India’s flag bearer. Former skipper of the Indian men’s hockey team Sardar Singh was the flag bearer in the 2014 edition of the games.

Here’s all you need to know about the 18th Asian Games:

Mascot: 

At the unveiling ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games held in Jakarta, a bird-of-paradise character named Derawan was initially chosen as the mascot for the 18th edition of the tournament. Derawan wore the uniform used in Indonesian martial art pencak silat in order to represent the country’s heritage in the sport.

However, organisers withdrew the design in January 2016 and faced huge flak. Later, three new mascots were introduced—-Bhin Bhin—a greater bird-of-paradise, Atung—a Bawean deer, and Kaka—a Javan rhinoceros, representing the Eastern, Central and Western regions of Indonesia.

Bhin Bhin wears a vest with Asmat traditional motifs from the Papua, Eastern Indonesia Region, which symbolize strategy. Atung wear a batik parang sarong from Central Indonesian Region, which symbolizes speed and a “Never give up fighting” spirit. Kaka (originally named Ika) wear a flower motif from Palembang’s Songket scraf that represents Western Indonesia Region, which symbolizes power.

Logo:

The logo for the 2018 Asian Games was initially chosen to be the same bird as the original mascot of the games ie. the bird-of-paradise character named Derawan. The new logo, themed “Energy of Asia”, depicts an aerial view of Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, which was built for when Jakarta hosted the Asian Games in 1962.

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Official theme song: 

The Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC) released an official music album of the 2018 Asian Games titled Asian Games 2018: Energy of Asia.

The album contains 13 tracks and sold at 600 outlets of fast food restaurant KFC in Indonesia. It involves top Indonesian musicians, including Ariel NOAH, Afgan, Anji, Armada, Bunga Citra Lestari, Cakra Khan, Dira Sugandi, Dipha Barus, GAC, JFlow, Isyana Sarasvati, Once, Slank, Shakira Jasmin, Via Vallen and a collaboration of 18 Energy artists.

Cost: 

The total cost for the 2018 Asian Games is estimated as USD 3.2 billion. 

Venue and infrastructure: 

The facilities for the Asian Games 2018 are located in the capital city of Jakarta and Palembang (South Sumatra), in four different sports clusters (three in Jakarta and one in Palembang). However, 15 arenas for matches and 11 training arenas in West Java and Banten which shares border with Jakarta, will be used to support the implementation of the games. There will be total 80 venues for competitions and training. The organisation hopes to keep the cost down by using the existing sports facilities and infrastructure, including those venues built for the 2011 Southeast Asian Games, and after the test event of the 2018 Asian Games in February, Inasgoc moved several sports that will be held in Jakarta International Expo to Jakarta Convention Center.

Sports: 

In March 2017, the Olympic Council of Asia initially announced that the games would feature 484 events in 42 sports, including the 28 permanent Olympic sports contested at the 2016 Summer Olympics, the five additional sports that will be contested at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, as well as events in other non-Olympic sports. In April 2017, the OCA approved reductions in the programme in response to cost concerns; belt wrestling, cricket, kurash, skateboarding, sambo, and surfing were dropped from the programme, and there was to be a reduced number of competitions in bridge, jet ski, ju jitsu, paragliding, sport climbing, taekwondo (in particular, all non-Olympic weight classes), and wushu. These changes reduced the total number of events to 431.

The final programme was unveiled in September 2017, increasing it to 462 events in 40 disciplines as the second-largest programme in Asian Games history. Additional disciplines being introduced at the 2020 Summer Olympics were also added, including 3×3 basketball and BMX freestyle.

For the first time in Asian Games history, eSports and canoe polo will be contested as a demonstration sport in the Games. Six video game titles will be featured in the event.