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Fireworks explode over the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta on August 18, 2018. (Photo by Arief Bagus / AFP) — AFP or licensors

In pictures: Jakarta bursts into colour as the 2018 Asian Games are declared open

Colourful opening ceremony marks start of the two-week tournament to be held in Jakarta and Palembang in Sumatra.
Updated Aug 19, 2018 12:25am

The Asian Games were declared open by Indonesia's President Joko Widodo late on Saturday during a colourful opening ceremony in Jakarta dominated by the joint march of North and South Korea.

A burst of fireworks followed the announcement, marking the start of the two-week tournament to be held in Jakarta and Palembang in Sumatra.

About 42,000 packed the Bung Karno stadium in the Indonesian capital for an elaborate show highlighting the diverse Indonesian culture.

The ceremony opened with a skit purportedly showing President Joko Widodo doing stunts on a motorbike in Jakarta's streets before riding into the Gelora Bung Karno stadium, to roars from the crowd. The helmeted driver disappeared into a tunnel moments before the real Jokowi appeared in the VIP area.

Much of the stadium infield was filled with a rainforest-covered volcano scene that formed the backdrop for a show based on air, earth, wind and fire themes and featuring thousands of performers.

Widodo was seen dancing in his seat as Indonesian singer Via Vallen took to the stage, before the stadium fell silent to honour the victims of the recent Lombok earthquake.

Indonesian badminton great Susi Susanti, the women's singles Olympic champion in 1992, lit the Games cauldron and the ceremony closed with a boisterous music performance and spectacular fireworks.

A dancer waits to perform during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games at the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium in Jakarta. —AFP
A dancer waits to perform during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games at the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium in Jakarta. —AFP

Performers wait to get on stage during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP
Performers wait to get on stage during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP

Fireworks explode over the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium during the opening ceremony. —AFP
Fireworks explode over the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium during the opening ceremony. —AFP

Pakistan's delegation parades during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP
Pakistan's delegation parades during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP

Pakistan's delegation waves to a packed crowd during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP
Pakistan's delegation waves to a packed crowd during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP

A performer poses in an alley before the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP
A performer poses in an alley before the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP

Dancers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP
Dancers perform during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP

An eye-catching performance during the opening ceremony. —AFP
An eye-catching performance during the opening ceremony. —AFP

Actors give a stirring performance during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP
Actors give a stirring performance during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP

Fireworks explode over the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. —AFP
Fireworks explode over the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. —AFP

Delegates look up to witness a breathtaking fireworks display during the opening ceremony at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta. —AFP
Delegates look up to witness a breathtaking fireworks display during the opening ceremony at the Gelora Bung Karno stadium in Jakarta. —AFP

A stirring performance given by a singer during the opening ceremony of the 2108 Asian Games. —AFP
A stirring performance given by a singer during the opening ceremony of the 2108 Asian Games. —AFP

A helmeted rider representing President Joko Widodo doing stunts on a motorbike. —AP
A helmeted rider representing President Joko Widodo doing stunts on a motorbike. —AP

Fireworks explode over the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium. —AFP
Fireworks explode over the Gelora Bung Karno main stadium. —AFP

Athletes applause as firewors explode during the opening ceremony. —AP
Athletes applause as firewors explode during the opening ceremony. —AP

The cauldron is lit during the opening ceremony for the 18th Asian Games. —AFP
The cauldron is lit during the opening ceremony for the 18th Asian Games. —AFP

The Afghanistan team marches in during the opening ceremony. —AP
The Afghanistan team marches in during the opening ceremony. —AP

The Unified Korea delegation parades during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP
The Unified Korea delegation parades during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Asian Games. —AFP