Unique opening ceremony promised for Asian Games

China has promised a traditional, water-themed opening ceremony for the Asian Games in the southern city of Guangzhou to kick start the country’s biggest sports event since the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

By (Reuters)

Published: Thu 11 Nov 2010, 2:36 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 5:00 AM

Organisers, however, are keeping the identity of the final torch bearer a closely guarded secret, along with the method of lighting the Asian Games cauldron on Friday evening.

“It will definitely bring us an unexpected surprise,” said He Jiqing, deputy director of opening and closing ceremonies for the Games.

“The lighting of the fire will be full of Chinese characteristics. Chinese people will love it and this is something they are familiar with,” he told reporters.

While the grand splendour of the opening of the Beijing Olympics in 2008 will be hard to match, the Asian Games ceremony will draw on traditional southern Chinese culture and feature a strong watery theme given its setting on tiny Haixinsha island on the Pearl River which runs through the heart of Guangzhou.

Unusually for such an international sports event, the opening ceremony would not be held in a large stadium, officials said, in order to better showcase the city’s skyline and architectural landmarks like the 600-meter-tall Guangzhou TV Tower.

Apart from the mysterious fire-lighting ritual, the opening ceremony will feature 6000 performers, a blitz of fireworks and athletes will enter on a flotilla of boats.

Citizens in the area have reportedly been urged to switch on their lights during the ceremony to complement a hail of lighting installations to provide a glittering backdrop, though a pall of smog blanketing the city in the run-up could dim such an effect.

“We are told it would be clear weather tomorrow night and everything will be good and smooth,” He added.

The Asian Games run from Nov. 12-27 with around 10,000 athletes from 45 countries taking part in 42 sports.

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