By Kim Han-joo
INCHEON, Sept. 16 (Yonhap) -- Athletes of Japan and Sri Lanka attended the first official welcoming ceremony at the Asian Games athletes' village Tuesday.
Flags of the two countries were raised as the athletes were welcomed to the 17th Asian Games, which will officially kick off Friday in the western port city of Incheon.
The flag-raising ceremony for some 50 members of Japan's delegation and four of Team Sri Lanka began at 10:00 a.m. at the athletes' quarters.
There was an unmistakable party atmosphere during the half-hour ceremony. The flags were raised with the national anthems of the two countries playing, followed by an exchange of souvenirs between heads of the two delegations and Lee Elisa, the mayor of the athletes' village.
"Please cheer for us since we are the first team (to arrive at the athletes' village)," Misaki Mukotani, a female bowler, told reporters. "I will try my best to get a gold medal."
The athletes' village is located in Guwol-dong in the central part of the city. The village features 2,220 units in 22 new apartment buildings in three blocks. About 14,500 athletes and officials from 45 countries are expected in Incheon for the 16-day competition.
Japan aims to win 50 gold medals to rank third in the medal standings for the fifth consecutive Asiad. Japan won 48 gold medals at the 2010 Asian Games, trailing South Korea's 76 and China's 199.
South Korea, which has set its sights on 90 golds and a second-place finish, will field its largest-ever Asian Games delegation with 831 athletes competing in all 36 sports, along with 237 officials.
The flag-raising ceremony for Japanese and Sri Lankan athletes was held at the athletes' village in the western port city of Incheon on Sept. 16, 2014. (Yonhap)