In a year that has already seen a Winter Olympics, a Commonwealth Games and a World Cup, the 18th Asian Games could have snuck up on even the most dedicated of sports fans – but you better believe that the people of Jakarta were ready for their own party.

Co-hosted by the Indonesian capital and the city of Palembang in South Sumatra, the 2018 Asian Games saw more than 11,000 athletes from 45 nations competing in 40 different sports from 18 August to 2 September.

Throughout the games, Jakarta was awash with banners, flags and murals marking the occasion. From glittering office towers to humble cafes and nondescript street corners – and in one case, even the gateway to a cemetery – images of the three games mascots were everywhere you looked.

And the slogan “Energy of Asia” could be felt everywhere you went. We joined in the fun as Jakartans from all walks of life turned out in their thousands to embrace the games with beaming smiles, and watched as their enthusiasm was duly rewarded with Indonesia’s best-ever performance at an Asiad.

The Asian Games experience begins the moment you get off your plane

Athletes from China arrive at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport

A warm welcome

The mascots of the 2018 Asian Games – Atung the Bawean deer, Bhin Bhin the bird of paradise and Kaka the Javan rhinoceros

Waiting to ride the Jakarta airport train, which began operations in late December 2017

Traffic outside the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) sports complex

Asian Games murals were painted across the city

“Mascot in action”

A paragliding Bhin Bhin

Asian Games banners leading down a highway

Street vendors get sporty with their offerings

The Banteng Wulung (wild bull) at the Jakarta Stock Exchange gets some TLC

A break at noon

Today at the games

MRT coming soon

Getting a bird’s-eye view of Menteng

The Asian Games mascots basking in the sunlight at Pacific Place

Flags of nations competing in archery

A quiet corner outside the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium

Friendly volunteers ready to point fans in the right direction

K-9 in control

Who’s a good dog?

Brisk business for stalls in the GBK complex

Free views of the archery action

Team Bhin Bhin

Students enjoying a day at the games

Smiles all round

Go Indonesia!

A young fan poses for photos outside the Asian Fest – even if you couldn’t get tickets to the sports venues, an Asian Fest ticket ensured that you got to experience the atmosphere of the games at the GBK complex

V for victory

A fun afternoon at National Monument Park

Cool boarders

The sun sets over the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium and the Asian Fest

Members of Indonesia’s taekwondo team at Hard Rock Cafe

The Asian Games Superstore, one of the most popular destinations at the GBK complex

“Ask me”

Fans stroll past the Superstore

Bung Karno looks out over the Sudirman Central Business District

Members of Nepal’s kabaddi team milling around outside Theater Garuda

See you in four years!

An India fan after witnessing the end of a disappointing campaign for the country’s kabaddi teams

Fans disperse on their way out of the GBK complex

The Gelora Bung Karno Stadium lights up for the first day of athletics

Looking out as crowds build around the main stadium

Fans of Jonatan Christie live every point as he wins his round of 16 tie – he would go on to claim the men’s singles gold

Family time at the games

“Come on!”


The flame burns on

The Asian Games cauldron against the backdrop of an almost-full moon

The 2018 Asian Para Games follows from 6 to 13 October

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