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The 15th Asian games opening ceremony kicks off

H.H. the Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani and H.H. Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser Al Misnad attended on Friday 1 December 2006 evening the opening ceremony of the 15th Doha Asian games which was staged at the Khalifa international stadium, and to run for two weeks.

 

At the outset a short film was displayed on giant screens at the Khalifa international stadium. The film, entitled welcome to Doha, depicted images from Doha city reflecting the development achieved in Qatar in various walks of life. The film was meant to tell all participants in the Asian games you are welcomed to Doha - the capital of sport.

H.H. the Emir Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani arrived amid a warm welcome by thousands of fans who took their places at Khalifa stadium. H.H. the emir greeted citizens and spectators who exchanged greetings with H.H. the emir hoisting the flag of the state of Qatar to which all sights were pinned on.

 

Attending the opening ceremony of the games were H.H. the heir apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, H.H. the Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin khalifa al Thani, and H.H. Sheikh Jassem bin Hamad Al Thani, the personal representative of H.H. the emir.

 

 

The ceremony was attended as well by a number of leaders of countries, heirs apparent, heads of government, their Excellencies the sheikhs, ministers, the speaker of the advisory (Shura) council, senior sports officials, and mass of people, and then began the countdown towards the official start of the games.

After the end of the countdown some 2500 student carrying torches formed the phrase Assakamu Alaykum (peace be upon you) in both Arabic and English language, to underline that sport is a symbol of peace and Doha is the capital of peace and sports. They formed the flag of Qatar on the stadium's ground in a spectacular scene accompanied by admirable music. The Qatari flag was raised and the national anthem played.

Following a rapturous reception, performers then played out a story which reflects the growth of Asia told by a Qatari, the Seeker, who navigates his way through the world with the help of a mystical astrolabe. He faces and surmounts hazards to a stunning backdrop of video graphics and lasers featuring sea monsters and even a golden falcon. At every turn the effects, the costumes and graphics became ever-more impressive and dramatic.

A stunning display then featured the Far East as a colorful caravan of Chinese dragons, dancers and vehicles entered the stage surrounded by Chinese fire-crackers as the story of the silk robe was told. An illustrated map of the Silk Road appeared on the floor of the stadium, populated by wonderfully costumed players.

The story continues with our hero finding his way to India where he is showered with gifts before setting sail back to Arabia. Here he finds a wife and marries, with the whole of Asia invited to the ceremony through music and dance while the spectators were also invited to participate by flashing lights and releasing huge party-poppers from a special Ceremony pack that was beneath every seat in the stadium.

Then the production moved on to celebrate Arabic culture by bringing on the desert riders of Qatar, who drew a great cheer on their powerful steeds. This was followed by a dynamic display focusing on the golden age of Arabic science, proceeding through time, passing the present day and looking into the future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every moment brings a new surprise, a new light show and new costumes for the thousands of performers who fill the arena. The tale ended with a flourish as Qatar promised Doha would be a city of the future amid a flurry of fireworks that left the spectators spellbound.

Then the players and the athletes entered the stadium playground carrying flags of their countries led by Afghanistan players (according to alphabetical order), then followed by the rest of the players, ending with Qatari players that in compliance with the Olympic traditions, considering Qatar as hosting country.

 

Hong Kong, China entertainer Jackie Cheung then sang ‘Together Now’ accompanied by hundreds of drummers as the Games' flag bearers entered the arena.

 

 

 

Whilst all the athletes were in place, Indian starlet Sunidhi Chauhan sang the song ‘Reach out’ as hundreds of children ran into the arena holding white doves, once again symbolizing the peaceful nature of the Games.

 

 

The Heir apparent HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani took to the stage with the Olympic Council of Asia President, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah and greeted the athletes by saying the gathering here today celebrates young Asians and confirms the future of sports in the region.

 

Addressing the opening ceremony of the 15th Doha Asian games 2006, H.H. the heir apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani thanked the spectators, heads of government and heirs apparent, saying that presence of the masses at the opening ceremony has proved to the world that we lived up to challenges, expressing the hope to host more greater sporting events in the future.

 

H.H. the heir apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani termed the Asian continent as historically and geographically rich in cultures, religions a matter which enabled it to succeed in facing challenges. H.H. the heir apparent stressed that this event would provide an opportunity for the Asian people to achieve more closeness among themselves.

H.H. the heir apparent said the gathering of youths and athletes today stresses the role of sports in enhancing the values of tolerance, understanding and acceptance of diversity saying this big sporting event provides throughout two week opportunities for learning the principles of practicing sports.

 

H.H. the heir apparent Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani called for reviving the basic principles of sports to further serving peace and development goals, underlining in this respect Qatar's interest in boosting co-operation and solidarity among nations, as well as spreading the culture of peace to stress our conviction to continue promoting the sports sector in the future.

H.H. the heir apparent thanked all those who have co-operated with Qatar to make the event a success including officials from all the Asian friendly states and for more than 17000 volunteers who are now working with utmost seriousness, dedication and diligence.

 

 

President of the Olympic council of Asia (OCA) Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah on behalf of he OCA and the Asian sport family addressing the opening ceremony of the 15th Doha Asian games expressed pleasure to welcome the opening the 15th Asian games in the beautiful city of Doha.

 

Following the speech of sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Sabah H.H. the emir announced the opening of the 15th Doha Asian games. Then it was to the ceremonial duty everyone had been waiting for. After the announcement of the games the flag of the Olympic council of Asia (OCA) was hoisted alongside the Qatari flag.

Later the Asian games torch of the Olympic Games was presented to five Qatari sport champions. The torch finally found its way to Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Qatari equestrian captain who rose through the floor of the stadium astride his horse to accept the flame. 
 

At the top the Torch lit a gold star, which turned upwards within revolving circles which became the astrolabe of the Seekers quest. The flame was lit signaling the start of the 15th Asian Games.

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