15th Junior ART Asian Championships starts with colorful opening ceremony

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JAKARTA, Indonesia: Despite being a junior competition, the kind of involvement and passion showed by the athletes and fans at the opening ceremony of the 15th Artistic Asian Junior Championships at Istora Senayan on Wednesday should boost the sport’s development in the country.
The tournament was declared open by Indonesia’s Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrawi, Indonesian Gymnastics Federation (Persani) President Ilya Avianti, FIG Executive Member Ali Ahmed bin Hitmi and Asian Gymnastics Union (AGU) Technical Manager Anis Saoud.
Indonesian Asian Games Organizing Committee (INASGOC) chief Erick Thohir and Persani Deputy Chairwoman Ita Yuliati were also present on the occasion.
The dignitaries, teams and fans were treated to Saman, one of the most popular dances among the Gayo ethnic group from Aceh province, Sumatra, by a group of students before the curtain-raiser.
“It’s an honour for the country to host such an important competition as is a test event for the upcoming 18th Asian Games,” said Imam. “I thank the AGU for giving Persani the right to host the tournament.”
Besides being used as a test event for the Asian Games in August, the competition is also a qualifier for this year’s Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October.
“We are really happy to organise the competition. It’s the first time that we are hosting an international gymnastics tournament. It’s a huge honour for us,” said Ilya in her speech.
As the team names were rolled out against the backdrop a sporty number, the volunteers led the gymnasts at the march past ceremony.
“AGU wants to thank Persani for their excellent organisation and being a great host. They’ve shown a great effort in hosting this competition. I wish them good luck and success,” said Anis.

Gymnasts from 20 countries are participating in the event, which features eight competition categories for boys and six for girls.
China, who claimed the all-around, vault bar, beam, floor and team honours, has entered with five men and as many in the women’s category.

The minimum age requirement is 14-17 and 13-15 for the MAG and WAG respectively.