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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Splendor Of The Asian Games: A Prelude To The Future

     The 16th edition of the Asian Games has been opened 11 days ago last November 12, 2010 at the newest surprise of Asia, the city of Guangzhou in Guangdong province in China. The billion dollar glittering ceremony is highlighted by the following sequence.

Sequence of events
     Prior to the opening ceremony, athletes and officials from 45 National Olympic Committees (NOC) were paraded by boat known as "Setting Sail" around the Pearl River with distance of 9.3km to showcase the Cantonese culture of the city.

Welcoming ceremony
    After the countdown, the opening began with firework displays at Canton Tower and around Haixinsha Islands. Afterwards, it is flag raised ceremony, eight honour guards of People's Liberation Army (PLA) received flag of the People's Republic of China from two children and raised it up, along with with national anthem March of the Volunteers.

    The performances, which known as "Set Sail" began at 8:06pm. The preludes saw a drop of water shown at giant screen and follow by a boy sat in a giant leaf slowly fell from the sky. They are 10cm of water flooded on centre of stage while two horseman ride around of it. Next portion is "Water from the Land", this chapter saw dancers perform and form a series of flowers. They then get together to form five different flowers and eventually form one big flower bloom. Children dancers then come out with lanterns followed by other neon light dancer displays. Afterwards the segment "The Ship in the Ocean" saw two main dancers perform in the centre stage along with others in the background. A giant expedition boat then enters the stage with dancers acting as waves in an intense storm. The boat measures 28.8m long, 8m wide and 18mm high. The boat then reaches its destination. In the penultimate segment, which known as "Sail of White Cloud" , the curtain was opened by pianist Lang Lang with song "Light" and sung by Zhang Ziyi. The song was written by lyricist Albert Leung and composer Li Hai-ying. 180 dancers twirling in the air at the height of 80m and converging on the water. Watercraft riders then created a series of water displays. High wire-performers then put up a series of acts in front of the giant screens to form waves, seesaws, smiley faces, birds and other shapes. Before going into the final segment, a special one minute programme, known as "Green One Minute" shown people from each district of Guangzhou bring pots of plants to display, showing Guangzhou is a green city. The last segment known as "invitation from the City of Flowers" start with a stage full of drummers.A group of hostesses join the performance. Internationally dressed dancers come to the stage. China's Wei Wei, Tang Jing, Hong Kong's Joey Yung, Taiwan's David Tao and South Korea's Kim Hyun Joong collaborate together to perform the theme song "Sunshine Again".The cauldron is then raised to become a giant flame cauldron tower. Fireworks then lit-up the area, followed by watercraft and boat exhibitions.

Parade of NOCs
     All athletes and officials from 44 National Olympic Committees and Kuwait are enter the site with host country enter the site last, as traditional. Due to the NOC suspension, Kuwaiti athletes enter the site under the Olympic flag with banner "Athletes from Kuwait". Each NOC was leaded by a national flagbearers.

Parade of Nations and Opening Declation
     The countries and their flag bearers then enter in alphabetic order in English. China enters last. Governor of Guangdong Huang Huahua and President of Guangzhou Asian Games Committee Liu Peng both gave a speech in mandarin. Asian Games president Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah then follow up with a speech in English. Wen Jiabao then declare the games to be officially opened. Large scale fireworks erupt from the Canton Tower and Pearl River delta. The games theme song "Reunion / Here we meet again" is then performed by singer Sun Nan and Mao Amin. The flag of the Olympic Council of Asia is carried in, the council song is played. Badminton player Fu Haifeng then gives a short speech. A gymnastics referee, Yan Ninan, takes an oath for the Games.

Lighting ceremony
     China dragon boat team leader Wu Guochong carries the flame torch into the ceremony from the torch relay. The torch is passed to gold medalist gymnast Chen Yibing, who then passes it to former football player Rong Zhihang. Table tennis gold medalist Deng Yaping then passes to the final torch bearer gold medalist diver He Chong.He and two children light a large flare that shot a fire to ignite the cauldron tower. Singer Song Zuying then perform the song "smile". Fireworks are set off in the air and around the arena to conclude the opening ceremony.

      The event was participated in by at least 10,000 athletes from 45 countries in Asia witnessing the spectacle and amused by its lavish and costly infrastructure by one of China’s liveliest city.
Before the Asian Games were held, there was a gathering known as the Far Eastern Games which was first mooted in 1912 between Empire of Japan, the Philippine Islands and China. The first Games were then held in Manila in 1913 and ten further gatherings were held until 1934. However, against the backdrop of the second Sino-Japanese War in 1934, in the face of Japan's insistence on including Manchu Empire as competitor nation in the Games, China announced its withdrawal from participation. The Games scheduled for 1938 were cancelled and the organisation was discontinued thereafter.
       After World War II, a number of Asian countries became independent. Many of the newly independent Asian countries wanted to see a new type of competition where Asian dominance would not be shown by violence but would be strengthened by mutual understanding. During the 1948 Summer Olympics in London, a conversation between sportsmen from China and the Philippines raised the idea of restoring the Far Eastern Games. However, the Indian International Olympic Committee representative Guru Dutt Sondhi thought that the restoration of the Games would not be sufficient to show the spirit of unity and level of achievement in Asian sports, so proposed to sports leaders the idea of having discussions about holding a wholly new competition — the Asian Games. This gave rise to the agreement to form the Asian Athletic Federation. A preparatory committee was set up to draft the charter for this new body. On 13 February 1949, the Asian Athletic Federation was formally inaugurated in New Delhi, alongside the name Asian Games Federation, with New Delhi announced as the first host city of the Asian Games which were scheduled to be held in 1950.
        In the event, the planned first Asian Games were delayed until 1951 due to preparation problems. However, they were successfully organised from 4-11 March 1951 with 489 athletes from 11 countries taking part. The Games grew from one meeting to the next. In 1958, the motto "Ever Onward" was officially announced as the official slogan of the Games.
       Guangzhou is formerly known as Canton during the colonial period until the 1990s. It’s futuristic, extraterrestrial atmosphere predates some of the world’s most advanced by half a century. Guangzhou, also known as Canton or Kwangchow,is a sub-provincial city and the capital of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. It is one of the five National Central Cities. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about 120 km (75 mi) northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key transportation hub and trading port.
       Guangzhou is the third largest city in China and southern China's largest city. As of the 2000 census, the city had a population of 6 million, and an urban area population of roughly 11.85 million,[7] making it the most populous city in the province and the third most populous metropolitan area in China. The Guangzhou government's official estimate of the city's population at the end of 2009 was 10,334,500, an addition of 152,500 people from the previous year.
       Guangzhou is the main manufacturing hub of the Pearl River Delta, one of mainland China's leading commercial and manufacturing regions. In 2009, the GDP reached ¥911.28 billion (US $133.5 billion), per capita was ¥89,498 (US $13,111).The China Import and Export Fair, also called "Canton Fair", is held every year in April and October by Ministry of Trading. Inaugurated in the spring of 1957, the Fair is a major event for the city. From the 104th session, Liuhua Complex is not in use to hold Canton Fair. All the booths have been transferred to Pazhou Complex. From the 104th session, Canton Fair has been arranged in 3 phases instead of 2 phases.
       Impressive structure, exemplary landscape, outstanding laws and legislation which makes it a standout among Asian cities. Guangzhou is one of China’s most well kept secret and diverse in potential that other countries can dream of.
       It is an event to behold, a memory that will last forever. This city is something that the Philippines’ Sleeping Giant of the South – Iloilo City – is trying to duplicate years from how given the proper foreign concepts, ideas & investments that will pour in. Iloilo, Philippines hopes China and other powerful, developed countries would help Iloilo one of the liveliest cities in Asia
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