JAKARTA, July 17 — The Asian Games torch arrived at Indonesia’s Yogyakarta airport on Tuesday after being flown in by an Indonesian Air Force Boeing jet from India, which hosted the first Asiad in 1951.
The Asiad flame will remain in Yogyakarta until Wednesday, when it will be merged with fire from Indonesia’s naturally occurring Mrapen eternal flame in central Java, in an official ceremony presided over by Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla.
Indonesia’s 1992 Olympic badminton gold medalist Susi Susanti, who brought the Asiad torch from New Delhi, said the process had gone smoothly. “There was a little problem when it was about to be transported to Indonesia. But it was all solved eventually,” Susi said in Yogyakarta shortly after the plane landed.
She confirmed that the Asiad flame had not been extinguished during the flight, as it represents the spirit of togetherness and friendship. The arrival of the Asiad torch in Yogyakarta was marked by a selection of traditional Indonesian cultural performances, including a lion dance.
After a ceremony to merge the flames from India and Indonesia in the compound of the ancient Prambanan temple near Yogyakarta, the Asian Games torch is set to begin its nationwide relay on Thursday. Beginning in Yogyakarta, the torch will pass through the Indonesian provinces of Java, Bali, Papua, Sulawesi, Kalimantan, and Sumatra.
The cities scheduled to host the torch relay are Surakarta, Malang, Denpasar, Lombok, Sorong, Makassar, Banjarmasin, Banda Aceh, Medan, Pekanbaru, Padang and Jambo. The Asiad torch is expected to arrive in Jakarta on August 15, ahead of the opening ceremony for the 18th Asian Games three days later.