BELJING: A dazzling extravaganza, heralded the 11th Asian games at the worker’s stadium here.

A brilliantly-orchestrated opening gave visitors as well as millions watching on television an insight into the traditions and culture of China.

‘The fluidity of form and the breathtaking effects made many a watcher quite forget that this was the city where a prodemocracy movement was suppressed with an iron fist last year,

‘The combination of military Grandeur and old-fashioned pagentry made it an irrepressible opening.

Chinese president Yang Shangkun, declared the festival of Asian youth open amidst thunderous cheers from spectators the jam packed stadium that can accommodate 82,000 The ceremony was notable for the lavish array of special effects and artistry making it a most effective and impressive show perhaps even outstripping the exciting excess of the 1988 Olympic games in Seoul.

The traditional march past followed and spectators spent time in trying to identify their favorite athletes. The countries lined up in the Chinese alphabetical order, India being 12th.

China brought up the rear and its 800strong contingent, expected to retain the straggle hold of 1982 and 1986, drew the loudest applause,

The games flag was hoisted, the sacred flame lit after the arduous journey of the torches across the length and breadth of the vast nation, and the traditional oath taking ceremony before the athletes made way for the cultural extravaganza.

The ceremony started with the drum dance depicting one of the civilization symbol of China followed by the dance by youths showing lotuses and cranes, which are regarded in China as the incarnation of purity and elegance.

However, one of the best parts of the ceremony was a demonstration of Chinese martial arts by the young boys and breathtaking acrobatics and gymnastics by those dubbed as he role sportsmen. : Before that children dressed in beautiful costumes presented the item, twinkling stars. Finally, the cultural aspect of the programme came to an end with the theme song of the Asian games with the message that since all of us share the lights so the same sun and moon so let us create a beautiful future through a joint effort.

‘The teams started marching into the stadium after that and then after the games were declared open the Asian games flame was lit and finally the athlete’s marched out of the stadium.

Article extracted from this publication >> September 28, 1990