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Macau China 2005


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Origin of the East Asian Games

To create more opportunities for greater sports and cultural exchanges between the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) in the East Asian region, the idea of the East Asian Games was officially proposed at the 1st Assembly of the East Asian National Olympic Committees (NOCs) on 15 September 1991. In November the same year, at the 2nd Coordination Meeting of the East Asian NOCs, the quadrennial East Asian Games was formally approved and the inauguration edition scheduled to be held in China in 1993.

Members and Associated Member of EAGA

Members of EAGA are the National Olympic Committees (NOC) in the East Asian Zone as defined by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA). These include the China , Hong Kong CHN, Japan, Korea, Macao CHN, Mongolia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Chinese Taipei.

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My report on the Opening Ceremony:

MACAU SHINES IN BRILLIANT OPENING CEREMONY

The fourth East Asian Games began in spectacular fashion at Macau Stadium on Saturday night.

The Vice Premier of the People's Republic of China, Wu Yi, declared the Games open, to thunderous applause and cheers from the Macau citizens, led by Chief Executive Edmund Ho Hau Wah.

The President of the East Asian Games Association, Eddie Laam Wah Ying, gave the welcome speech, and thanked the Macau SAR Government for all their support, making Macau "the proud owner of 12 international standard venues."

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of MEAGOC, Manuel Silverio, then praised the spirit of the Macau people, and said the Games were opening after 1,915 days of preparation.

"The hosting of the fourth East Asian Games is one of the finest demonstrations of the success of the handover," said Mr. Silverio, referring to the 1999 change of sovereignty from Portugal to China."

He described the people of Macau as "true ambassadors for global peace".  "Indeed, what better means to serve the quest for peace, mutual respect and understanding than that of sport.  We are delighted and privileged to be sharing this sense of pride and ownership for the Games with you all and the people of the East Asia region."

The delegations entered the arena behind brightly-decorated floats, and there was a special cheer for the teams from Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, who marched together holding hands in a moving display of unity.

Three torches were carried into the stadium by three local athletes, and together they lit the torch held by wushu star Han Jing.  This was then passed to a fisher boy - a character representing the people of Macau and its origins as a fishing village - who ran to the front of the model boat spanning the pitch to light the Games cauldron, a scene that had the crowd gasping in awe and appreciation.

After the pledge of fair play and judging by representatives of the athletes and judges, the athletes left the arena, and Singaporean songstress Stefanie Sun entertained the crowd.

When the formalities were over, the audience was treated to a sumptuous cultural performance by the Beijing BeiAo Grand Culture and Sports Events Co. Ltd.

Involving some 8,000 volunteers, many from local high schools, and 1,000 professionals from Beijing, BeiAo Events produced surprise after surprise in a performance that held the spectators spellbound with its exoticism and innovation.

Entitled "Light of East Asia - Symphonic Poem of Macau", the story featured five chapters, "The Sunrise Sonata", "Serene Sea Nocturne", "Homeward Voyage Concerto", "Macau Symphony" and "New Era Rhapsody".

There was a never-ending flow of extravagant props and costumes, including giant sea creatures, and a fly past by a flock of red crowned cranes which stunned the audience and left them wondering whether they were real or on wires.

Macau passed the first test of the Opening Ceremony with flying colours.

In the words of the Games anthem, "We Will Shine", sung by local band Soler, Macau shined like a star at the start of the East Asian Games.

All of this, of course, was just but a preview of the wonders that will be unveiled in Beijing on 8 August 2008.  And I will be there again.

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