Jakarta, Aug 4 (IANS) The Asian Games flame reached Palembang on Saturday, the co-host of the Games along with Jakarta, before moving on to its next destinations of Banten and West Java provinces prior to the Asiad opening ceremony slated for August 18 in Jakarta.
The arrival of the flame in the South Sumatran city, was welcomed with a grand ceremony featuring by air force aerobatics and various cultural activities, reports Xinhua news agency.
The flame was brought to the Palembang Asiad stadium in a tinder box by parachutists from the Indonesian air force, received by military and police chiefs, the South Sumatra governor and the head of the Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC) Erick Thohir.
“The Relay of the Asiad flame to various cities was aimed at introducing the sports event to people across the country, giving all of them the spirit to host the Asian Games,” Erick said in his remarks to address the torch relay in here.
The torch relay run in Palembang took a 24-kilometre route around the city, passing through the Asiad stadium compound and several landmarks.
Before its arrival in Palembang, the Asiad flame toured cities in Indonesia’s western, central, and eastern regions, including in its easternmost province of Papua.
The flame was lit in the middle of last month in India’s Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi that hosted the first Asiad in 1951.
A total of 18 provinces across Indonesia are scheduled to hold the Asiad torch relay that kicked off in Yogyakarta on July 18.
The Asiad flame is scheduled to arrive in Jakarta on August 17 where it will be received by Indonesian President Joko Widodo before the opening ceremony on the next day in Jakarta’s landmark Gelora Bung Karno stadium.
The 18th Asian Games, with the theme of “Energy of Asia,” will include 40 sports in Jakarta and Palembang from August 18-September 2, and will involve over 11,000 athletes from 45 Asian countries and regions.