"These are your Games, so let us unite and share the excitement and the passion over the next 16 days," Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) president Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah said at the opening ceremony. "We are delighted to welcome you and looking forward to seeing you compete and perform based on fair play and respect. You are the heart and soul of the Games," he told the athletes. While the two Koreas marched together at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, 2004 Athens Olympics, 2002 Busan Asian Games and 2006 Doha Asian Games in a sign of reconciliation, they failed to repeat the feat here.
All the delegations entered the stadium in the order in accordance with the Korean alphabet (Hangul) with Nepal leading and South Korea last in line. Backed by a stunning light show, the opening ceremony was themed around the Korean culture, incorporating folk dance, music and poem. Pop star Psy performed, together with internationally acclaimed Chinese pianist Lang Lang, in one of the highlights of a show that featured a dozen of Hallyu pop singers and actors.
The Games' symbolic flame was lit by actress Lee Young-Ae, the star of the historical South Korean drama 'Dae Jang Geum', which was a massive hit across Asia. The competitions kick off Saturday when 28 gold medals will be contested.