The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Joyous Busan aims for Seoul encore
- 14th Asian Games closes with ‘homecoming’ theme l Mayor declares bid for 2016 Olympics

Busan, Oct. 14: Right from the opening ceremony, the Busan Asian Games has been different in many ways. The trend was maintained on the last day too as the 15-day continental extravaganza drew to a joyous close at the Asiad Main Stadium Monday evening.

The theme of the 80-minute closing ceremony was ‘home coming’. After toiling hard for medals for a fortnight, it was time to bid the gracious hosts goodbye and prepare to leave for home. No tears, no frothy sentiments, just a shake of hands with a smile — till the next meeting in Doha four years later.

Thousands of kids from the Duriya (the mascot) family danced in joy, singers on mobile vans had the capacity crowd of 54,000 tapping their feet and joining them in chorus.

A breathtaking light-and-sound system added to the festive atmosphere on a cool evening.

The athletes from 44 countries who had stayed back to attend the closing function joined in the fun and frolic.

And when Duriya sailed out of the magnificent stadium for the last time after the Games flame had been extinguished, there were no moist eyes. Everyone was sad but the spirit was to look ahead and count the days to Doha.

A presentation from the Doha Asian Games Organising Committee failed to catch the eye. The choreography of a song-and-dance sequence by young boys and girls left a lot to be desired. There was a big contingent from the Doha organisers who made their presence felt in the last fortnight here. Hopefully, they have picked the right lessons from Busan.

Mayor Ahn Sang-young reiterated during his farewell address that he would make Busan “one of the top-notch world cities” by staging the 2016 Olympic Games. Well, that’s in the distant future. The IOC hasn’t even picked the host city for the 2012 Games.

But once Busan makes the bid in a couple of years, it will surely emerge as a strong candidate. This lovely harbour city, built around hills and the sea, has got all the infrastructure for an event of the magnitude of the Olympics.

They just have to brush up on a couple of areas — a wider network of transportation facilities as the venues are spread very far and wide and a bigger contingent of English interpreters.

Seoul has hosted both the Asian Games and Olympics successfully. Now Busan has shown that it can do an encore.

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