Photo credit: Tang Shi

There is something big ahead of us as Jakarta these days is getting ready for the Asian Games for the second time in history. The Indonesian capital has been chosen to host the 18th Asian Games, which will run from 18 August to 2 September 2018.

The event will be inaugurated with a colossal opening ceremony including a 120 meter long ceremony stage and more than 4,000 dancers at the GBK main stadium on Saturday, and the Indonesians are prepared to show the world they are very capable of hosting such a huge international event. The many athletes will compete in no less than 58 different sports including sport climbing, paragliding, and – of course – badminton.

The badminton tournament is to be played in the famous arena Istora Senayan Stadium, which has also been used for Indonesia Open many years. The first ever event in the recently renovated arena that seats 7,110 spectators was the Thomas Cup in 1961 and it also hosted the Asian Games in 1962. Take That, Simply Red, Bruno Mars and Maroon 5 are just some of those many big names from the world of music that have had concerts in this very same arena.

Badminton introduced in 1962

First time the Asian Games were held was in 1951 in Delhi, India. Jakarta hosted the Games first time in 1962, which was also the first year badminton was represented as a competitive sport. It had only joined the Games as a demonstration sport in 1958. Basketball, football, handball and water polo already played some qualification matches since Friday 10th August but the badminton team tournament won’t start until 19th August. The individual tournament follows thereafter.

When badminton was put on the program in 1962 the two semifinal losers went to playoff to decide the winner of the bronze medal, but since 1966, with one exception in 1974, both losing semifinalists have travelled home with bronze medals without competing about avoiding the sad fourth place in the competition.

One will maybe not be too surprised to learn that the most winning nation in badminton at the Asian Games is China, who is closely followed by Indonesia. The two nations have won a total of 101 and 91 medals respectively.

Seven nations shared the 28 medals between them at the last Asian Games, which was held in Korean Incheon in 2014. The host nation, Korea, took five medals of which two were in the team events. The Korean men’s team grabbed the gold after defeating China in the final and it was the opposite outcome in the women’s team event where China won the gold in front of Korea.

As a matter of fact China’s women have five consecutive titles at the team event from 1998 to 2014 – an achievement they also made from 1974 to 1990. Korea interrupted the Chinese dominance in 1994 and Korea also takes the third place in number of medals with 66 while Pakistan has one single medal, a bronze medal they won at the men’s team event in 1978.

Mixed dominance… see next page

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