The 3rd Asian Beach Games are now officially open – and what an opening it was! The 2000 athletes were transported by bus along with the many hundreds of officials and volunteers to a stadium that had been specially built for the occasion. Some ten thousand spectators were treated to an hour-long display of sound, light, dancing and fireworks, involving hundreds of dancers, singers and actors in what was a very impressive display of skill and talent.
The highlight of the ceremony was the Athletes’ parade in which the athletes were presented to the audience with all the flair and ceremony befitting the Games. Teams were led by ladies in long dresses through lines of cheering performers, all dancing and waving pompoms to welcome everyone.
The finale was, of course, the lighting of the Olympic flame, which was paraded around the stage by past and current Olympic gold medal winners. An LED-studded mechanical bird swooped down to greet the final torch-bearer and then carried the flame to a set of arrows which sped towards a huge golden monument, the carrier of the flame for the duration of the Games. The lighting of this beacon was greeted by a mass of fireworks as the performers cheered and waved to the athletes, wishing them good luck and fair play.
The Games have got off to a very impressive start. Now it’s down to the business of deciding Asian Beach Games medal winners. Day 1 of the Powered Paragliding (Paramotor) competition starts at 0700 on Sunday.