The Brunei contingent posing
with the Sultanate's flag
during last night's closing
ceremony of the 4th Asian
Indoor and Martial Arts Games.
Picture: BT/ Jason Thomas
The 1,750 athletes from 44 countries bid their farewells and promised to meet again in a year's time as the 4th Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games (AIMAG) came to a close last night.
As they joyfully danced and sang along to Korean rock bands while the lights turned on and confetti was sprayed at the Samsan World Gymnasium, there was a sense that Incheon will deliver a bigger party next September.
The first tournament to merge the Asian Indoor Games and the Asian Martial Arts Games, AIMAG served as a testing ground for the Asian Games which this city is set to host in 14 months' time.
Last night's ceremony capped off eight days of action in 12 sports, and though the national team failed to secure a medal in their three sports chess, cue sports and swimming Team Brunei will leave the Incheon International Airport tonight satisfied, knowing that they have performed better than expected.
China topped the medal tally with 29 gold, 13 silver and 10 bronze medals, followed by hosts South Korea on 21 gold, 27 silver and 19 bronze medals.
Vietnam finished third with eight gold, seven silver and 12 bronze medals, with Thailand close behind on eight gold, three silver and 11 bronze.
But there was hardly any mention of table toppers or medalists at the closing ceremony, which was themed "Let's Shine Together".
Starting with a display of traditional music and videos from all 44 participating countries, the ceremony which was decidedly much more low-key than last Saturday's state-of-the-arts opening ceremony went on to show AIMAG promotional videos, competition highlights and a visual record of the eight days of competiton.
The athlete's parade followed the raising of the South Korean flag, and in perhaps the most touching part of the show, a segment called "Eight Special Days" then captivated the crowd.
The heart-warming video featured Mongolian billiards athlete Bayarsaikhan Narantuya, an 18-year-old who was participating in her first international competition at the AIMAG and detailed her prepration, family life and journey to Incheon before her eventual loss in the first round.
Turkmenistan, who will be hosting the 2017 AIMAG, then received the Olympic Council Asia flag after which the country presented a video presentation, songs and dances.
The AIMAG Torch was then extinguished to symbolised the Games' closing, as the athletes made their way to the buses which would bring them back to the Athletes' Villages, knew that they can look forward to a bigger and brighter torch next September.