10 Disember, 2009

Colourful ceremony marks start of 25th SEA Games

Colourful opening: The Malaysian contingent during the march past at the opening ceremony of the 25th SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos Wednesday.

Ten-time SEA Games gold medal winner Yeoh Ken Nee led the Malaysian contingent out during the contingents’ march past.

The Malaysians looked smart in their gold-coloured baju Melayu with songkok for the men and baju kurung with scarves for the women.

The highlight of the opening ceremony was the lighting of the Games cauldron.

Sixteen past and present famous Laotian athletes took turns carrying the torch around the stadium’s running track.

Wushu exponent Phoxay Aphailatho, who earned Laos a historic silver medal at the 2006 Doha Asian Games, was given the honour to be the final torch bearer.

An archer garbed in ancient Laotian warrior costume and carrying a bow lit his arrow with the flames of the torch held by Phoxay.

The archer then fired the arrow in the direction of the cauldron, igniting the flame in it and sending the 20,000-capacity crowd into a frenzy.

The spectators had more reason to cheer when fireworks lit up the Vientiane night sky just as the cauldron was lit.

Besides Malaysia and Laos, the other nine countries competing in the biennial sports carnival are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam.

A total of 25 sports are contested in Vientiane with 377 gold medals up for grabs.

Malaysia, who finished as the runners-up in the medal tally with a 68-52-96 haul in Korat in 2007, have set a modest target of obtaining between 30 and 35 gold medals in Vientiane.

Malaysia have a contingent of 347 athletes featuring in 21 sports in the Games. THE STAR

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