Asian Games begin with another awesome Chinese masterpiece
Friday November 12, 2010 08:53:42 PM,
After storming the sporting world by hosting a spectacular
Olympics and topping the medals tally at Beijing two years ago,
Guangzhou Friday came up with a breathtaking opening ceremony to
unfurl the 16th Asian Games in pomp and style.
If the Olympics displayed China's economic might and sporting
prowess, Guangzhou has reinforced China's growing status as a
superpower by pumping in billions of dollars in putting up the
show in the prosperous and sprawling city in the Pearl River
The southern Chinese city of Guangzhou echoed "Thrilling Games,
Harmonious Asia" with a ceremony that was taken out of the main
stadium to a riverfront for the first time in the history of any
The ceremony, set on tiny Haixinsha island on the Pearl River
which runs through the heart of Guangzhou, drew traditional
southern Chinese culture and featured a strong watery theme. The
sea of colours, the fireworks, and the technical innovation of the
entire show left everyone awestruck.
And when Olympic and Asian Games diving champion He Chong lit the
Asian Games cauldron by setting off a giant firecracker, China
once again wowed the world with its creativity.
Two decades after the Beijing Asian Games in 1990 underscored
China's rapid strides in the sporting arena, the country is
hosting the biggest Games ever. The 15-day mega event will witness
a conglomeration of 9,704 athletes from 45 Asian countries and
The Guangzhou Games feature 42 sports disciplines - the most since
the Asian Games were first staged in New Delhi in 1951. In the
last Asian Games in Doha, China was way ahead at the top of the
tally with 165 gold medals.
The organisers have added 12 new competition venues besides
sprucing up subways, ports and city streets in creating a fabulous
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, IOC president Jacques Rogge and
leaders and royal family members from other Asian countries were
present at the opening ceremony.
The entire city was involved in the opening spectacle as tens of
thousands of residents welcomed the Games. It was an interactive
"Festival of Harmony" with the athletes and officials from 45
National Olympic Committees sailing along the river.
The ceremony began with a ship aptly dubbed "Harmony" setting sail
to mark the start of the Games. This was followed the march-past
The 45-minute and 9.3-km boat parade named "Setting Sail" was one
of the highlights of the three-hour long opening ceremony.
The athletes and official were carried on a boat to the "ship" on
the island and along the way they had glimpses of Guangzhou's
culture and fascinating riverside life under a dazzling night
skyline. They glided past the buildings, bridges and other
landmarks lit up by a sea of neon and laser lights.
Also showcased was a local wedding, Cantonese Opera, a painting of
a scroll depicting the "City of Five Goats, a flower, a fashion
show and demonstrations of martial arts, percussion music and
opera fused into cutting-edge modernity.
Elements such as the folk dance and the lion dance were used is
the ceremony that underscored the natural scenery of the region.
The Asian Philharmoic Orchestra performed in the segment dubbed
"The Ship in the Ocean."
Drum beating with Guangzhou characteristics reached its peak
before the 'Five Goats' mascot was invited into the to start the
ceremony amid joyful folk songs.
The ceremony marked the realisation of a seven-year long dream
that began with Guangzhou making the bid for the Asian Games in
December 2003. The rights to the 2010 Games were officially
awarded to Guangzhou by the Olympic Council of Asia July 1, 2004.
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