GUANGZHOU (China) (AFP) The 16th Asian Games officially closed on Saturday in the southern Chinese metropolis of Guangzhou with a rousing and colourful outdoor spectacular. Like the acclaimed curtain-raiser just over two weeks ago, the closing gala was held not inside a stadium but on a boat-shaped island in the middle of the Pearl River, which meanders through the heart of Chinas third-largest city. The 16th Asian Games, which has been a huge success, comes to an end, said Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmed Al Fahad Al Sabah. This edition of the Games has, without a doubt, been one of the most outstanding in the history of the event. On a warm night, a volley of red and white fireworks was unleashed from the 610-metre Guangzhou Television Tower to signal the evenings festivities were underway, as a Games dominated by Chinese athletes neared its climax. Thousands more fireworks, in green, red, gold and silver, boomed out across the vast citys hazy skyline. Guangzhou was handing over the Asian Games torch to the South Korean city of Incheon, which will host the four-yearly multi-sports event in 2014. While the November 12 opening ceremony showcased the local Lingnan culture, Saturdays extravaganza on Haixinsha Island celebrated Asias diverse cultures, with music and dance from India, Lebanon, Japan, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. With the multi-coloured television tower peering over and a smattering of skyscrapers as a backdrop, a Peoples Liberation Army band and a 1,000-strong choir belted out the Chinese national anthem to a packed grandstand. In front of the crowd opened up a stage with eight huge screens shaped like the sails of a ship, as boats decked out in bright lights and with the names of each of the 45 competing nations or territories drifted up and down the river. Piercing green lasers and roving white beams of light shot up into the night sky as four months of rehearsals and years of planning sprang into action. Much like for the opening ceremony, police undertook a massive security operation that saw roads closed and some shops and businesses shuttered. City chiefs said the outside venue made it more tricky to secure than if it was inside a stadium. Guangzhou, which has a population of over 10 million people, hopes the Games the biggest Asiad ever will put it on the international map, after the Olympics in Beijing two years ago and World Expo in Shanghai this year. Meanwhile, an extraordinary Asian Games on Saturday prepared to close after 15 days of thrills and spills that saw China reinforce its sporting credentials and Japan slip further behind. On the last day of action at an Asiad unprecedented in size and scale, China fittingly won the last gold at stake when their womens volleyball team toppled South Korea 3-2 in a thrilling finale. Zhou Chunxiu earlier added yet more gold to their glittering haul by defending her womens marathon title with teammate Zhu Xiaolin taking silver and North Koreas Kim Kum-Ok the bronze. South Koreas Ji Youngjun won the mens race. The volleyball success pushed the host nations final gold tally to 199 and its total medals to a whopping 416 both Asian Games records. While China basked in its most successful Asiad ever, its arch-rival Japan performed worse then expected, winning just 48 titles for an overall 216 total medals. It left them well behind South Korea, who claimed 76 gold and 232 medals altogether. The reason why we have been largely successful is related to the rise of our nation, along with the constant rise of Chinas economy and our comprehensive national strength, Chinas vice minister of sport Duan Shijie said. This medal haul again can represent a major achievement in our preparations for the London Olympic Games. While the traditional big three dominated, 36 of the 45 countries and territories taking part managed to climb the podium, with some notable successes. Macau won its first gold medal ever through Jia Rui in the mens wushu and Bangladesh matched that breakthrough, claiming the mens cricket title in an exciting victory over Afghanistan. Oman and Nepal propped up the table with a single bronze each, but there was no joy for minnows like Timor-Leste, Maldives, Turkmenistan, Brunei and Cambodia. There were three world records (two in weightlifting and one in archery) as well as 103 Asian records. In all, 12,600 drug tests were carried out with just two failures Uzbek wrestler Jakhongir Muminov and Uzbek judoka Shokir Muminov. The Games were overshadowed somewhat by the North Korean artillery attack on South Korea, as well as a diplomatic dispute over the disqualification of a Taiwan taekwondo fighter. There were also early problems with empty stadiums, complaints about the long distances to venues and heavy security, but Olympic Council of Asia president Sheikh Ahmed Al Fahad Al Sabah had nothing but praise. Guangzhou looked to challenge Beijing (Olympics) and I think they did it successfully, said the Kuwaiti. Some Olympic committees and OCA colleagues say there is the same level compared to Beijing or even better. Athletes in the village say facilities were even better than Beijing. Guangzhou made a great a success. I would say they were an extraordinary Games. Organising committee deputy secretary-general Xu Ruisheng said he too was pleased with the outcome of an event that took seven years to plan and cost billions of dollars, transforming this southern metropolis. There have been many touching stories every day at all of the competition venues, he said. Audiences have shown their enthusiasm and athletes have performed at their best. This is what the Games needed. After a widely-acclaimed opening ceremony, the Games close later Saturday with Korean pop sensation Rain performing as part of the handover to the 2014 host Incheon. The star also known as Jung Ji-Hoon will sing three songs in an extravaganza televised to billions of people throughout the region. China 199 119 98 416 South Korea 76 65 91 232 Japan 48 74 94 216 Iran 20 14 25 59 Kazakhstan 18 23 38 79 India 14 17 33 64 Taiwan 13 16 38 67 Uzbekistan 11 22 23 56 Thailand 11 9 32 52 Malaysia 9 18 14 41 Hong Kong 8 15 17 40 North Korea 6 10 20 36 Saudi Arabia 5 3 5 13 Bahrain 5 0 4 9 Indonesia 4 9 13 26 Singapore 4 7 6 17 Kuwait 4 6 1 11 Qatar 4 5 7 16 Philippines 3 4 9 16 Pakistan 3 2 3 8 Mongolia 2 5 9 16 Myanmar 2 5 3 10 Jordan 2 2 2 6 Vietnam 1 17 15 33 Kyrgyzstan 1 2 2 5 Macau 1 1 4 6 Bangladesh 1 1 1 3 Tajikistan 1 0 3 4 Syria 1 0 1 2 UAE 0 4 1 5 Afghanistan 0 2 1 3 Iraq 0 1 2 3 Lebanon 0 1 2 3 Laos 0 0 2 2 Nepal 0 0 1 1 Oman 0 0 1 1