Asian Games to kick-off with water-themed ceremony

November 11th, 2010 - 9:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Guangzhou, Nov 11 (IANS) China is looking to outdo the grand opening spectacle of the Beijing Olympics by taking the opening ceremony of the 16th Asian Games to a river front on a picturesque island here Friday.

The opening promises to be a breathtaking ceremony, the first-of-its-kind. It will not be held at any stadium, but on the Haixinsha Island along the Pearl River running through the city of Guangzhou. The entire city will be part of the ceremony.

“The Pearl River will be used as the stage and the entire city as the background,” said He Jiqing, director of ceremonies and cultural events at the organising committee.

The ceremony, showcasing the Southern Chinese culture and the water-theme, will integrate the cultures of China and Asia.

The organisers, however, have kept the name of the final torchbearer a closely guarded secret. They are also tight-lipped about how the Asian Games cauldron will be lighted, Xinhua reported.

“The idea to stage the Asian Games opening ceremony out of a stadium for the first time was put forward in 2008,” said Jiqing.

“This change of venue for the opening ceremony is a breakthrough in the history of large-scale, international sports events as Haixinsha is not an enclosed venue, but an open space with unlimited extension of time and space. This is a revolutionary breakthrough of Guangzhou.”

“It is a city around water, which has bred the distinguishing regional culture of Guangzhou,” he said.

Jiqing chose not to disclose the cost of the ceremony but said: “We are going to host the ceremony in a pragmatic, cost-effective manner.”

On who will be the final torchbearer, he said: “The torch-lighting moment has always been a top secret and most important moment in large multi-discipline events.”

“We have carefully planned the torch lighting and it will bring you a pleasant surprise. As for who will light the flame, you will find out when the time comes.”

The Nov 12-27 Games will be the largest edition ever, featuring 9,704 athletes and 4,750 officials from 45 countries and regions in a record 42 sporting disciplines.

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