26 Aug 2018

Opening Ceremony for 2018 Championships in Montana

Saturay 25 August 2018:  The Opening Ceremony took place in the Central Square in Montana city on Saturday, enveloped in the warmth of a summer evening. The setting, within the pedestranised area of the city with the backdrop of the town's famous fountains, was a perfect venue to accommodate almost 400 athletes including their respective managers, coaches and Heads of Delegations. The square afforded sufficient space to the inhabitants of Montana to witness and enjoy the Opening Ceremony too.

Proceedings began with the playing of the Bulgarian National Anthem whilst the national flag was hoisted. With the most important guests gathered on the podium, Elisabet Mikaelsson, IPC 1st Vice President was invited to step up to the microphone to officially sanction the start of the Championships. She expressed her delight at being in Bulgaria, adding that she wished the athletes an enjoyable and successful competition. Concluding her speech we witnessed the raising of the FAI flag whilst the FAI anthem was played.

Several of the invited personnel also addressed the audience and first to do so was Krasimir Velchev, Member of Parliament for the National Assembly of the Republic of Bulgaria.  He was followed by Stoyan Andonov, Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports. Their sentiments focused on sportsmanship and striving not to be defeated, with each of them wishing every competitor the determination to succeed.  Subsequent speeches were made by Irena Dimova, the local Member of Parliament for Montana, followed by Brigadier General Yavor Mateen, Commander Special Forces.  Each of these VIPs had played a vital role in securing the required funding and necessary permissions to ensure these Championships are a success.

Throughout the formal proceedings the designated translator, Chudomir (his name means ‘miracle’), did a noteworthy job, bringing a smile to many in the audience with his occasional loose translation of the native speaker.

Some of the Pastrina dancers, clearly proud and honoured to be featuring in the Opening Ceremony.

The host nation's Teams were warmly applauded as they took to the podium at the ed of the parade of athletes.

Concluding the formal aspects, we were entertained by a succession of singers including the remarkable talent of 10 year old Magdalena Alexandrova who stunned everyone with her rendition of Whitney Houstons’s song, One Moment in Time.

Bulgaria’s traditional folk dances are renowned and respected throughout the country and we were regaled with a demonstration of their skills by the mesmerising dance troupe ‘Pastrina’.  


Each participating country was invited to parade their athletes up and across the podium, much to the delight of the audience and locals alike.
One remarkable VIP was none other than Yulia Angelova, nee Ilieva, who was Bulgaria’s first World Champion (Gold Medallist) in Accuracy at the 3rd World Championships in 1956 which was held in Moscow. Today our athletes are competing in the 35th World Championships!

The Opening Ceremony was brought to a close with another traditional Bulgarian folk dance, but this time everyone in the vicinity was invited to participate. It stands the test of time when you observe that every Bulgarian who took to the stage knew the dance routine without hesitance. The enthusiastic, albeit non-Bulgarian athletes were nothing but willing students (aka exhibitionists)!