India's capital New Delhi will host the flame lighting ceremony prior to the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta and Palembang, it has been announced today.
The announcement comes after a seven-member delegation from the Indonesian Asian Games Organising Committee, led by the secretary general Eris Hariyanto, visited New Delhi over the past two days to finalise preparations for the Torch Relay.
The delegation called at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, where the flame for the 18th edition of the Asian Games will be lit on July 15.
The venue is named after the legendary hockey player, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, and is where the permanent flame of the Asian Games is located.
It was also the main stadium for the first Asian Games held in New Delhi in 1951 and is said to carry an historical value, not only for Indians but for the whole of Asia.
The detailed plan for the flame lighting ceremony was discussed in a joint meeting between the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the administrator of the National Stadium.
The OCA was represented by director of international relations Vinod Tiwari, while the IOA was represented by President Narinder Batra and secretary general Rajeev Mehta.
The ceremony will be followed by a cultural programme and a three-kilometres Torch Relay, taking in the historical sights of New Delhi such as the India Gate war memorial and the Rashtrapati Bhavan Lawns.
The flame will then be transported to Yogyakarta in Central Java, Indonesia, by a dedicated Indonesian Air Force Boeing 737 for a one-month Relay around 29 cities.
The 10,000km relay will involve 1,000 Torchbearers and the route will include the tourist island of Bali as well as the Asian Games co-host city Palembang, the capital of South Sumatra province.
"The OCA would like to thank Dr Batra and Mr Rajeev Mehta for their support and hospitality during the two-day visit," the continental governing body said in a statement.
The 2018 Asian Games will be held in Jakarta and Palembang from August 18 to September 2.
A total of 40 sports and 462 events will be contested by 10,000 athletes from the OCA's 45 National Olympic Committees.
Earlier this month, OCA Coordination Committee chairman Tsunekazu Takeda claimed they are "very satisfied" with preparations for the Games following the conclusion of an eighth inspection visit.
Takeda, the President of the Japanese Olympic Committee and an International Olympic Committee member, said organisers were in "operational and implementation mode" and the planning phase was over.
Jakarta Deputy Governor Sandiaga Uno was among the officials to attend the two-day visit and stressed the Government would implement an efficient travel management plan for the Games.
Uno also revealed work would start on ways to ease traffic congestion during the Games when a series of test events are held in the Indonesian capital next month.
He said this would provide a case study for the Asian Games.
The Coordination Committee concluded the visit by calling on the Organising Committee, chaired by businessman Erick Thohir, to finalise the Games schedule as soon as possible.
During the Committee's inspection, Indonesian President Joko Widodo inaugurated the main venue for the Games, the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, where the Opening Ceremony will be held on August 18.