Mascots have been an integral part of any big sporting event for a long time. Usually, in the form of an animal, they provide an image to remember a certain edition of the competition by. Mascots, usually, also have a secondary purpose which is to provide a quick outlook on the country where the competition is being held and also provide some words of wisdom.
Over the years, there have been several such memorable mascots. Here we take a look at the mascots, which over the years, have embodied various editions of the Asian Games
The tradition of allocating a mascot to a particular edition of the Games was started in 1982. The pan-Asian games had just arrived in India, and the organizers welcomed the participating nations with an image of an Elephant.
Appu was based on a real elephant, who at the time of the games was just six-years-old. The organizers were denied making a mascot out of a real animal and hence transported Appu's image on a page.
The mascot became associated with the Games that help Delhi on its path to becoming a modern capital city.
The Games reached Seoul four years later, where athletes and fans were presented with Hodori, the Tiger.
The name Hodori was made up of the Korean word for tiger (Horangi) and a common masculine suffix (DORI). The mascot for the 1986 Asian Games, as well as, the 1988 Olympics, Hodori always wore a ribboned hat (which spelt S for Seoul) and a necklace made up of the Olympic symbol.
The Beijing Asian Games followed the Delhi Games by creating a mascot of a real-life animal. As with Appu, Pan-Pan was based on Basi, a captive Panda in China.
In 2017, before Basi finally passed away, she was the oldest living Panda in captivity. China's most adored animal was given an everlasting image when she was converted into a mascot for the 1990 Asian Games.
The Asian Games went to Hiroshima in 1994, to find a city back on its feet after years of distress.
Hiroshima was a victim of the USA dropping an Atom bomb during the Second World War. It took decades for the city to get back on its feet. As a result, when they welcomed the whole of Asia in 1994, they did with the universal symbol of peace- two white dove mascots who went by the name of Poppo and Cuccu.
For the first time in the history of the games, Bangkok won a bidding war for the right to host the 1998 Asian Games. The Thai capital beat off competition from Taipei and Jakarta to win the hosting rights for the games.
Chai-Yo, the Thai Elephant was chosen to be the mascot of the 1998 Games. The origins of the name Chai-Yo are found in a chant which is used by a group to show their unity and solidarity.
2002 was a big year for South Korea. Apart from hosting the Asian Games, South Korea was also the co-host of the FIFA World Cup. To provide a distinct image for the Asian Games, Duria the seagull was chosen as the mascot.
The name 'Duria' was an amalgamation of the words durative and Asia, which when translated to Korean read 'You and Me together'. The message was to promote unity between the Asian countries via this mascot.
Orry the Oryx was unveiled in Qatar, along with a giant statue.
While launching the national animal of Qatar as the 2006 Games mascot, Doha Asian Games Organising Committee (DAGOC) director-general Abdulla Khalid Al Qahtani at that time had this to say, "We will show the world the identity that will pave our way to the best ever Asian Games."
China hosted back-to-back big-ticket events in the form of the 2008 Olympics and the 2010 Asian Games. The biggest country in the world continued its tradition of having more than one mascot for an event after they came up with the Fuwa for the 2008 Olympics.
The significance of the five mascots increased when their names were read together, as the proclaimed a message of harmony, blessings, success, and happiness.
After a twelve year absence, the Asian Games were held once more in South Korea. This time around, the mascots were three spotted seals- Barame, Chumuro, and Vichuon.
The names of the mascots literally translated to wind, dance, and light and were chosen as symbolic to the future peace between North and South Korea.
Jakarta and Palembang 2018
For the first time ever, two cities will be hosting the Asian Games together. The two Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Palembang will join forces in hosting the eighteenth edition of the games.
After a long and arduous process, which involved shunning the previously chosen mascot, the organizers came up with the trifecta of animals. Bhin-Bhin the Bird-of-Paradise, Akung the Bawean Deer, and Kaka the Javan Rhinoceros will be the faces of the latest edition of the games.
You can read more about them here.