Stung by the fever of Asian Games 2018

Me at the main stadium of Gelora Bung Karno on Monday, 27 August 2018, cheering for Indonesian athletes.

My life in the past two weeks turns upside down thanks to Asian Games 2018. In case you haven’t heard anything about Asian Games 2018, my country, Indonesia, once again hosts the world’s second largest sporting competition after 56 years. This year’s event takes place in two cities, Jakarta and Palembang. I myself reside in Jakarta.

Alhamdulillah (praise to God) that I have time to get involved in all the excitements during the festivity thanks to my freelancing job. I can’t imagine if I work at office from 9 to 5, I wouldn’t be able to follow all news let alone watching my favorite sporting events.

I can tell you that long before I know classic novels and devote much of my time for reading, I am a huge sport fan. I learn about nationalism from sport, especially badminton. I even wish I were a badminton player back then.

So, whenever there are any sport competitions held in Jakarta, particularly global ones, I am so thrilled. I am so excited with the 2011 SEA Games, now Asian Games 2018. I couldn’t be happier!

Indonesians are very fond of badminton, probably second most favorite sport after football

I start and end the days within the two weeks by catching up news on Asian Games 2018. I check the news on daily events involving Indonesian athletes and I head on to purchase tickets if still available.

I am a little bit sad because I am only able to watch four events; 1 badminton (my most favorite match), 2 athletics and 1 baseball match. I am mistaken about Indonesians’ enthusiasms. I thought people wouldn’t care coming to the stadium by paying much money. But I am so wrong, very wrong. Tickets are sold very fast, especially favorite sporting events (my favorites as well), which are football, badminton, basketball and volley ball.

So I manage to buy one badminton ticket only, the second round of preliminary session of individual badminton. At far distance, I am joyful to witness the performance of local badminton player, Liliyana Natsir or Butet, probably for her last time. She and her partner, Tontowi Ahmad or Owi, are 2016 Olympic gold medalists. They eventually lose at the tournament but never mind though because I catch their playing at that session.

Asian Games Super Store with super queue. I can’t enter the store because you know, the very long line as you can see from the pict

I purchase two tickets for athletic games during the Asian Games 2018 as this is “the mother of all sports”. This is the sport at which I can witness new records, open my mouth wide open every time I see athletes jumping at the highest surpassing the pole. And of course, my adrenaline runs quickly every time running-theme events take place.

The best moment of all is shouting the loudest while jumping off the bench when the fourth runner of the Indonesia’s 4 x 100 m men relay is approaching the last few meters of the race. I won’t ever forget the moment that lasts for only a few seconds because it has been a very long time I didn’t experience that. The four runners eventually snatch silver medal. I am so, so blessed to be there at the moment, cheering for them at the stadium.

That’s the wonderful part of becoming a supporter for the host team. As a spectator and sport fan in general, I am amazed by my fellow citizens who are enthusiastic way more than I imagine. If they don’t like sports, they can bring along their friends and families enjoying Asian Fest who offers culinary, music shows and games. Either day or night, Gelora Bung Karno sports complex in the heart of Jakarta is full of visitors.

Then, I am so delighted to see a lot of families bringing their kids watching live at the stadium. Then, the children should or clap their hands while saying, “INDONESIA”, “INDONESIA! I bet that must be their once-in-a-lifetime experience that will leave unforgettable trace in their minds. Who knows one day one of them will be national athlete?

Also, it’s a pleasant view to see many employees who go to the stadium to support local athletes along with their office mates after their job is over at that day. For myself, I’d love to head on to the stadium across the city to watch pure entertainment called sports.

Sport mixed with entertainment and culinary

Tomorrow is the last day of the Asian Games 2018. The much-awaited party is over within some hours from now. The hard work from the Indonesian government eventually is completed and what they do deserves a massive applause. I can’t imagine how the organizing committee of the event does the mass job for years. Minus poor ticketing system, all parts of the event run very well; security, public facility, venue-related things, service for spectators and participating athletes and officials and many aspects.

After months of news about corruption, political rivalry among presidential candidates, deeply stung by the fever of Asian Games 2018 is such relieve and refreshment. Looking at the atmosphere, I am sure that I’m not the only one who feels this way.

Best thing is our country bags 31 gold medals, yes! This is way better than just four gold medals we get during the 2014 Asian Games Incheon, South Korea. The achievement also surpasses the targeted gold medals from the government (around 20 gold medals if I’m not mistaken). Gold, silver, bronze or doesn’t belong to top circles doesn’t matter for me. Because as a sport fan, again, watching world-class sport games here, just a few kilometer from my lodging room, is already a gift, a very great entertainment. I am very, very thankful for all the local athletes, coaches and officials who work super hard to whatever result they get from this event. May your sweat and tear will bring in best results in more events to come. Thank you, thank you very much once again.

Thank you very much Asian Games 2018 for giving me wnderful stories to cherish as long as I live

And last but not least, Alhamdulillah (praise to God) that I become a tiny part of the history for Indonesia as a citizen, spectator, sport fan and huge supporter for local athletes. This Asian Games 2018 adds a wonderful chapter to my already beautiful life. And for my country, this proves that we can be a good host for this huge event despite problems occurring in the country. Alhamdulillah..

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