From India's dominance in athletics to K-Pop performances: five takeaways from the 18th Asian Games

After a successful 15-day 'sporting fiesta' in Jakarta and Palembang, here is what made the Games in Indonesia memorable.

1 — India’s rising stars shine bright

Neeraj Chopra showed why he is one of the nation’s best bet for Tokyo 2020.

The world U20 champion added another gold in his budding javelin career with an impressive throw of 88.06m.

That mark makes the 21-year-old the sixth-best thrower this season.

Swapna Barman, who has 12 toes, also grabbed the headlines for winning India’s first gold in heptathlon at the Asian Games.

The girl from a poor family in Jalpaiguri bravely bore the pain of competing with an ill-fitting pair of shoes for most of her seven events.

India's Swapna Barman prepares to wear her track shoes before a training session. She won Heptathlon gold at the Asian Games.
India's Swapna Barman prepares to wear her track shoes before a training session. She won Heptathlon gold at the Asian Games.India's Swapna Barman prepares to wear her track shoes before a training session. She won Heptathlon gold at the Asian Games.

Barman, who has six toes on each foot, also battled a severe toothache competing with a taped jaw for most of her events.

Dutee Chand also returned to track with great success taking two sprints silver in the 100m and 200m.

The 22-year-old was banned by the IAAF just before the 2014 Games over hyperandrogenism.

2 — A great achievement

Winning the 2018 Asian Games football final was a great boost for Tottenham Hotspur striker Son Heung-min.

South Korea retained the title with a 2-1 victory against Japan.

A win that meant the 26-year-old will not miss the next two seasons at the Spurs, as he is now exempted from military service.

The other members of the gold-medal-winning team will also skip mandatory duty.

Korean law requires that men must begin 21 months of military service before turning 28.

2018 Asian Game Winner 우리 팀원들 코칭스태프 또 우리 지원스태프 너무 감사하고 사랑하고 또 부족한 저를 정말로 빛나게 해줘서 너무 고맙습니다 주장으로써 처음으로 나간 국제 대회에서 이런 좋은성적을 낼수 있게 해줘서 너무나도 영광입니다 너무 많이 고생했고 진짜로 정말 진심으로 감사합니다 그리고 정말 저를 응원해주시는 팬분들 또는 전세계 축구팬분들 뭐라고 말씀을 드려야 할지 모르겠습니다 너무 많은 성원 너무많은 응원을 받아서 정말 많은 책임감 느끼고 감사하게 생각합니다 정말로 팬분들 덕분에 제가 금메달이라는거를 목에 걸수 있었습니다 저한테 평생 잊지 못할 추억 만들어주셔서 감사합니다 앞으로 대한민국을 위해서 대한민국 축구를 위해서 또 저 손흥민을 위해서 최선을 다해서 발전된 모습 보이도록 노력 정말 많이 하겠습니다! 감사하고 사랑합니다❤️ 금메달은 국민의 것입니다🥇

A post shared by Son HeungMin(손흥민)🇰🇷 (@hm_son7) on

3 — Japan's swimming future promising

With Tokyo 2020 around the corner, Japan’s future looks bright.

Rikako Ikee put Japanese swimming on the map with a record six golds and two silvers in Jakarta.

The 18-year-old was named the best athlete of the Games, the first female to win the award.

Her eight medals matched North Korean shooter So Gin-man, the winner of seven golds and a silver at the New Delhi Games back in 1982.

4 — Unified Korean team delivers

There was also the sustained beautiful reunion between North and South Korea.

The two countries again marched together during the Opening Ceremony under the Korean unification flag and fielded joint teams in three sports.

The highlight was Team Korea’s historic gold in the women's 500m traditional boat race (dragon boat).

There were also combined teams in rowing and women’s basketball.

5 — A touch of K-Pop

There were wonderful moments to look back all around the Asian Games right to the end.

Just as it captivated Olympians at the PyeongChang 2018 Games, the Korean sensation took centre stage at the Closing Ceremony in Jakarta.

K-Pop’s Super Junior and iKON wowed the crowds as they performed alongside other Indonesian stars.

Ikon delighted their fans with hit songs ‘Love Scenario’ and ‘Rhythm Ta’.

South Korean boy band iKON perform during the Closing Ceremony.
South Korean boy band iKON perform during the Closing Ceremony. South Korean boy band iKON perform during the Closing Ceremony.

While Super Junior delivered ‘Sorry Sorry’, ‘Banamana’ and ‘Mr Simple’.

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