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Pattaya Daily News

07 December 2007 :: 11:12:42 am 7160

24th Sea Games Opens With Jubilant Ceremony

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, – The 24th Southeast Asian Games, commonly known as the SEA Games, opened officially Thursday in Thailand‘s northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima.
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The colourful opening ceremony was presided over by His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn representing His Majesty the King who turned 80 on Wednesday.

In his opening speech, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn welcomed athletes and officials from ASEAN member countries to participate in the games in Thailand. He pronounced his blessing wishing the games success in lifting the spirits and friendship of the participating countries.

The 24th SEA Games or Korat Games, themed ‘Spirit, Friendship and Celebration,’ are featuring 43 sports and offering a total of 475 gold medals, with two demonstration sports continuing until December 15 .

Thailand ‘s SEA Games organising committee planned its hosting of the biggest sporting event in Asean to coincide with the commemoration of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 80th birthday celebrations on Wednesday.

The Thai parade was led by Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana, HRH Crown Prince’s daughter, who is a badminton player.

The first of eight shows to perform at the opening ceremony was in honour of His Majesty the King. It conveys the message of the King’s hard work that makes his people live happily and peacefully.

The opening ceremony featured over 4,000 participants and much technical work.

For the torchlighting ceremony, Suriya Prasathinpimai, Thailand’s boxer who won a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece, carried the last torch relay to Udomporn Polsak, Thailand’s women’s weightlifter who won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympic Games in Greece, to ignite the SEA Games flame marking the opening of the games. Both are natives of Nakhonratchasima.

All 10 members of Asean – Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Brunei – as well as Timor Leste, which joined the SEA Games family in 2003, are participating in the region’s high-profile biannual sporting event.

The Games are being hosted in three main venues – Nakhon Ratchasima, Bangkok and Chonburi (Pattaya).

The mascot of the 24th SEA Games is a Siamese cat playing the khaen, a traditional Thai musical instrument. He wears a colourful loincloth, known in Thai as pha khao ma, in the northeastern style.

Though the Games officially open on Thursday, some sports like shooting, men’s and women’s football, table tennis (ping pong), gymnastics and sepak takraw began much earlier, and shooting events have already been completed.

Thailand is leading the medals tally, having collected 21 gold medals across shooting, cycling and aerobic gymnastics. With a home field advantage, the Thais hope to capture 150 golds.

Thailand is hosting the SEA Games for the sixth time after having had the honour in the inaugural SEAP Games in 1959, and in 1967, 1975, 1985 and 1996 .

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Sports News

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