Fireworks lit up the sky during the opening ceremony of Asian Games 2014.Pop sensation Psy was the star attraction as a dazzling opening ceremony, showcasing the glorious past and modern-day South Korea launched the 17th Asian Games here on Friday.The Games were declared open by South Korean President Park Geun-Hye with the words “I declare open the 17th Asian Games,” before actor Lee Young-ae lit up the flame resembling a fountain of cascading water.As Lee lighted the cauldron, dazzling fireworks lit up the sky.The competing teams marched into the stadium in the final act of the evening. The Indian athletes trooped in after Iran with hockey skipper Sardar Singh leading out the smartly-dressed contingent.While the male members wore black blazers, the women athletes were dressed in blue sarees. The smiling athletes walked in waving the tri-colour. India have sent nearly 700-strong contingent for the event that will take part in 28 disciplines.The overriding theme of the opening was the unity of Asia and consequently the cultural show comprised four parts. As is the custom the ceremony was divided into the informal and formal parts.South Korean President Park Geun-hye waves during the opening ceremony of the 17th Asian Games.The event began with a welcoming performance, lasting close to 80 minutes, to greet the spectators at the 60,000-capacity stadium that was filled to the brim.The session was divided into three parts, “Incheon, the magnet of dreams,” “Incheon, where all of us become friends,” and “Tomorrow, dreamed by all of us.”advertisementA display of Korea’s traditional drums and cymbal-type instruments before emcees Kim Sung-ju and Youn Soo-young came on stage.Then, a cheering team formed by young children performed to a remix of songs from past sports events held in Korea, including the theme song of the 1988 Seoul Olympics, and the 2002 FIFA World Cup.The second part of the opening ceremony consisted of two themed songs “New Asia, a Song of Hope” and “Incheon”.Then “Incheon, a place for one Asia” expressed the Games hosting city as a bridge to unite Asia as one family and open the future of the continent.Two figures related to Incheon appeared on stage- Biryu, a legendary founding father of an ancient kingdom whose territory covered the Incheon area, and Sim Cheong, a girl in an ancient novel, who dived into the sea as a sacrifice for fishermen who promised to give her blind father a huge amount of rice instead.On the final stage of “Incheon, a place for one Asia,” a ship returned to Incheon with Korean opera singer, Ahn Sook-sun, singing “One Asia.”The ship carried the hoop girl, actor Kim Soo-hyun and people from 45 nations. They were welcomed by actor Jang Dong-gun and people of Incheon. Executive director Im Kwon-taek and artistic director Jang Jin orchestrated all performances.Executive director Im Kwon-taek and artistic director Jang Jin orchestrated all the performances.After the Games were formally declared open the OCA flag was brought in by eight top former Korean sports heroes and ceremoniously raised.The host country’s national anthem was sung to signal the commencement of the formal part of the programme.The teams had been restricted to 130 members for the march past. South Korean singer Psy performs during the opening ceremony of the 17th Asian Games.As was expected the host country’s contingent, aiming to finish at least second overall in the medals tally behind juggernaut China, was given the loudest cheer of the entire evening.In his welcome speech Kim Young-soo, the president of the Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee, described Incheon as not only his birthplace, but also as “a dynamic city of communication and interaction; the venue for convergence and exchange, home to various ethnicities, cultures, the latest scientific technologies and traditions.”He also said that the current Asian Games will be “a grand festival for peace and harmony, to discard all discrimination, prejudice, suppression and conflicts; and to ensure an Asia of mutual understanding and prosperity.””The 17th Asian Games has been prepared not as a festival for just few nations, but as a magnificent festival for all Asians to celebrate as one,” he added.The Games torch, in a departure from tradition lit on August 9 at New Delhi’s Dhyan Chand National Stadium which was the venue of the inaugural Asian Games in 1951, was then ceremoniously brought into the stadium by a relay squad of runners before the cauldron was lit in spectacular fashion by Korean actor Lee Young-ae to thunderous roars from the crowd.advertisementTraditionally, the flame of Asian Games had always been lit in the Games hosting nation. But to infuse a sense of tradition and honour to the history of Asian Games, the flame for the 17th Games here was lit up in an overseas nation for the first time to lay the foundation for the flame of the Asian Games to be continuously lit up in the Dhyan Chand National Stadium from now on.Through the relay from New Delhi, the hosting city for the first Asian Games and through China, the flame arrived at Incheon Port through sea route on August 12th.It all ended in a riot of colour and foot-tapping Gangnam style music and dance with the assembled athletes in the centre of the field joining in.