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Sports-mad Indonesian couple name new baby ‘Asian Games’

Abidah Asian Games, a newborn baby girl named as such after she was born hours before the games’ opening ceremony © AFP / Bagus Kurniawan

PALEMBANG, Indonesia, Aug 21A sports-mad Indonesian couple have named their new baby ‘Asian Games’ to mark her arrival as the country kicked off the world’s second-biggest multi-sport event.

The little girl — full name Abidah Asian Games — was born about a month early in co-host city Palembang, just hours before Saturday’s opening ceremony, her parents told AFP on Tuesday.

“We already had a first name for her but didn’t have a last name,” new father Yordania Denny said, cradling the new arrival in his arms in the front room of their modest house in the north of the city.

So the parents, who now have three children, drew inspiration from what they regard as an “historic” moment.

“Such an event is rare. It only happens every few years. And not to mention that it’s in Palembang — it’s rare for Palembang to host such an…event.”

The city’s residents are fiercely proud to be in the international spotlight, with banners lining the streets and TV screens showing the sports live in many restaurants.

Many Indonesians have only one name and many, but not all, Indonesian children have their father’s surname as their first name.

The new parents remained coy when asked if they hoped the name would help turn their daughter into a future sporting star.

“If she has the talent and motivation we will support and motivate her,” mum Vera said, although her husband hinted which sport he would prefer, saying that “Indonesia is good at badminton”.

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They also said that they would allow Abidah Asian Games to change her name in the future if she does not have the same appreciation for the regional Olympic event.

The August 18-September 2 Asian Games features 17,000 athletes and officials and is being held in the capital Jakarta and Palembang on Sumatra island.

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