(Top)Brunei athletes, led by
flag-bearer Ahmad Taufiq Murni,
march into the Jakabaring
Stadium during the opening of
26th SEA Games in Palembang,
Indonesia last night.(Above) His
Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri
Bolkiah (C), the President of
the Brunei Darussalam National
Olympic Council (BDNOC),
attended the opening ceremony
of the 26th SEA Games in
Palembang,Indonesia, last night.
Pictures:AFP,BT/Yee Chun Leong
Indonesia opened the 26th SEA Games with a bang last night hoping a spectacular fireworks and laser show would go some way to banishing the bad publicity swirling around the regional competition.
The hosts put on a colouful show during the opening ceremony of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games at the Gelora Sriwijaya Stadium, which is also known as the Jakabaring Stadium, in Palembang, Indonesia, thrilling the crowd as Indonesia sought to move on from the graft allegations, delayed construction and poor planning that have dogged the build-up.
The opening ceremony, which started at 7pm local time, was presided over by Dr H Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the President of Indonesia.
Also present at the ceremony was His Royal Highness Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah, the president of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC).
The newly-built stadium was filled almost to its maximum capacity of 40,000 and the ceremony kicked off with a spectacular fireworks show before a series of cultural performances and laser shows showcasing the cultural heritage of the region, its history and its long spoting tradition.
The athletes parade was next on the schedule and Brunei Darussalam led the field of 11 participating nations in the march past. National cueist and World No 66 Ahmad Taufiq Murni, who was the flag-bearer for the Sultanate, proudly led Team Brunei during the parade. Even the rain that started to fall midway through the parade failed to dampen the spirit and enthusiasm in the stadium.
Once the parade was over, the Indonesian President declared the Games open.
The second most important part of the ceremony fell to Indonesia's badminton great Susi Susanti, who was trusted to carrying the Flame Torch to the cauldron.
Susi was chosen for her glowing CV the 1992 Olympic gold medal in the badminton women's singles arguably her biggest achievement. She was also one of the most dominant players of her time winning the All-England in 1990, 1991, 1993 and 1994.
In an event lasting more than two hours, the opening ceremony closed with Joy Tobing singing "United and Rising' followed by a spectacular fireworks show.
Jakarta the Games' co-host too was filled with light and sound last night when it hosted an event to celebrate the opening of the 26th SEA Games.
The ceremony spanned nearly four hours at the National Monument and it was held concurrently with the main opening ceremony at Palembang.
Art performances by Betawi (Jakarta native) performers, local artists and dancers captivated the gathered audience, which was made up of athletes and delegates from the various 11 countries as well as a multitude of Jakarta schoolchildren brought in to enliven the night which ended with a flurry of fireworks.
"We want to show Indonesia's unity and the spirit of friendship we have with our Asean neighbours," said Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo in his speech.
The event in Palembang was broadcast to Jakarta in two instances.
The first was during the Indonesian flag-raising ceremony and the second spanned the duration of the carrying of the torch, lighting of the cauldron, and subsequent speeches by Indonesia SEA Games Organising Committee (Inasoc) chairman Rita Subowo and Indonesian Youth and Sports Minister Andi Mallarangeng.
The crowd also witnessed Yudhoyono officially declare the Games open.
Though Brunei have been competing here since last Friday, only the football team have taken to the pitch. But all that is set to change today, and with Brunei competing in eight sports in Jakarta, the action is expected to come in thick and fast.
Though Brunei's pencak silat team are certain to see action in the tanding events at Padepokan Pencak Silat, Taman Mini Indonesia Indah (TMII), as of Press time Brunei's secretariats were still unsure whether taekwondo and karate-do would take to the court.
Courtesy from Brunei Times