The 4th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games kicked off with an opening ceremony at the Incheon Samsan World Gymnasium on June 29th. This year’s games features athletes from some 43 member NOCs of the Olympic Council of Asia.
Jung Hong-Won, premier minister of South Korea, announced the official opening of the eight-day Games, which will be running until July 7th under the slogan “Diversity Shines Here”.
The opening ceremony followed the theme “Let’s Dream Together,” which aimed at highlighting the openness of Incheon and the cultural diversity of both the city and the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
Welcome speeches were given by Incheon Asian Games Organizing Committee president Kim Young-soo and HRH Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of the OCA who gave an emotional speech which captured the hearts of all in attendance.
The South Korean national flag was raised to the national anthem sung by students from Yeonghwa Elementary School. At 8 p.m., the torch of the Games arrived at the gymnasium, and the Games’ flame was lit by the famous pool player and AIMAG 2013 Goodwill Ambassador Cha Yu-Ram who won the gold for nine-ball singles in the 2009 Asian Indoor Games a, bringing the opening ceremony to a close.
This is the first time that the once separate Asian Indoor Games and Martial Art Games are being held as one event.
The games feature over 100 events in 12 sports from which muaythai is one of the biggest, with participation of some 26 Asian nations.