SEA Games opens in glitzy rites; Valdez leads march
SINGAPORE—The region’s finest athletes, including some of the world’s best, gather in this booming commercial hub on the Southern tip of the Malay Peninsula when the 28th Southeast Asian Games formally opens Friday at the colossal National Stadium here.
The three-hour show of stunning multimedia projections, light and sound displays, fireworks and colorful costumes along with breathtaking aerial props and large-scale puppetry will begin with the parade of athletes from 11 participating countries in the two-week biennial meet spread who will see action in 31 venues here.
Filipino volleyball celebrity Alyssa Valdez takes a prominent spot for the 462-strong Philippine contingent as the country’s flag carrier during the march past inside the largest dome structure in the world worth $2.5 billion (roughly P110 billion) that took almost five years to be built.
Marching behind Valdez are chef de mission Julian Camacho and deputies Cynthia Carrion from gymnastics and canoe-kayak’s Jonne Go.
The delegation from Brunei will lead the march in the 55,000-seat main stadium, followed by Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam and the host country, the smallest nation in the region at 718 square kilometers with a population of 5.4 million.
Singapore organizers have adopted the theme “Celebrate the Extraordinary” for the two-week sportsfest and emphasized that connecting individuals, communities and countries to their dreams is more powerful and valuable than winning medals.
Following the parade of delegates competing in 36 sports is the speech of Singaporean president Tony Tan Keng Yam, who will declare the biggest multi-sport platform in the Asean territory open.
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