Asian Games Doha 2006

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Asian Games end with spectacular Closing Ceremony



An ocean of fans streamed into Khalifa Stadium for the Closing Ceremony of the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006 where all Qatar and all Qataris gave a huge thank you to the world, to the athletes, officials and spectators who made these the Games of your Life.

In fact, personalities from every one of the 45 nations and regions taking part strode eagerly through the gates to get to the show in great time, some arriving before 15:00 for a show that started at 20:00. Meanwhile thousands more waited outside in the vain hope that some last-minute tickets for the sell-out show might become available in the hours before it begins, or perhaps just to absorb some of the atmosphere.

"I hope you had a very great time, I hope these games were great," a fan claimed. "Do you practice any sport? You should, sport is so important."

It's interesting to know that Saji Kumas, a resident in Doha for the last five years was outside the Khalifa Stadium taking photographs with his wife and young son. He expressed, "I think that the Closing Ceremony will be one of the greatest shows of our life. We couldn't go to the Opening Ceremony, but we have been to so many events over the last 15 days and expect something more from the Closing Ceremony.

"This will be a nice memory for our son. I remember seeing fireworks as a five year-old and I want him to remember this experience like I did."

What's more, Rami G Saba from Lebanon came with his family and is extremely fired up for the Closing Ceremony, "The Opening Ceremony was extremely fantastic, so I'm hoping this will be just as great.

The Khalifa Stadium is boiling and high atop the Sports Tower the flame burns more brightly. Inside the stadium, the Games Flame in its stunning, articulated Cauldron sends its golden flames into the darkness, lighting the gold rings in which it is suspended.

And the lights of Sport City come alive; the blues of ASPIRE, the violet of Sports Tower and the twinkling white of the stadium itself. Thousands of spectators stream to their seats and sit to watch some of the cherished moments of the Asian Games on the huge screen above the seats.

Accompanied by a dramatic, full orchestral score the most memorable sporting moments of the 15th Asian Games were once more shown to responsive and appreciative spectators.

It's great to mention that ten thousand athletes and more have given Asia and the world countless moments to treasure, now it is the turn of 1,500 performers to do the same.

As we know, names like Liu Xiang, Park Tae Wwan, Shami and, tonight, Bilal have dominated our attention, now, in the time of the One Thousand and One Nights, it is the turn of Ali Baba, Aladdin, Sinbad; Scheherazade.

The atmosphere crackles backstage as dancers, singers and acrobats prepare to round off Doha 2006 with their skill and talent. The athletes mingle as they get ready, as each individual readies themselves for the performance to come. Some lie alone in their thoughts, others listen to music, some pace restlessly or limber-up, stretching and twisting to ease the tension.

Though darkness has descended on Doha, backstage it is anything but a black night. Shimmering costumes of purple, blue, red and green; indeed every colour imaginable, hang on the rails ready to be shown to the globe.

A group of kids from the Ministry of Education Services, who will be the little genies in the show, generate a playground atmosphere. Some are playing with a football – being Bilal no doubt – others run excitedly, girls compare costumes.

Also backstage, a cast from the host city of the new Asian Games, Guangzhou made their final preparations for their 10 minute hand-over section of the show. One person quietly irons a Chinese flag, while another twirls an Orry soft toy in his hands and eyes it speculatively.

Audience expectation increases as they are instructed on how and at the time to use their participation pack during the spectacle.

A light star, a lantern promises a son et lumiere spectacular to take the breath away.

And indeed it left you breathless. The creators had cooked up a magnificent feast of sight and sound by concocting a recipe from music, dance, acrobatics, cabaret and high wire acts.

Part circus, part Broadway extravaganza, the Closing Ceremony began with a magic carpet that brought a torch to the Asian Games Flame and carried the Flame away as the Doha 2006 Cauldron was extinguished.

Then Scheherazade, perched improbably on a sliver of moonlight , floated over the stadium as the story of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves opened the show.

During the performance there was a spectacular display of aerial dancing, of performers who were suspended from a fleet of ethereal white boats above the arena. This was the aerial ballet that had been prevented from being used during the Opening Ceremony thanks to the high winds at that time – but conditions were perfect on the Closing Ceremony moment.

That story segued perfectly with Sinbad running to Ail Baba’s rescue and then fighting the thieves. Just as the fighting reached its heaviest, Aladdin summoned the Genie of the Lamp to restore peace.

And as peace descended on the stadium, the Genie gave Aladdin the Astrolabe that had been such a feature of the Opening Ceremony with the representation of the Games Flame within.

But that was not it. In a moving and surprise ending, Aladdin presented the Astrolabe to HH The Emir and the audience was left to catch its breath.

But not for long. The crowd went ballistic with the arrival of most of the athletes parade and then the stunning presentation of dance, song, costume and even calligraphy to celebrate the passing of the Asian Games Torch and the Asian Games flag to the representatives of the 2010 host city, Guangzhou.

As the spectacle concluded in an almost unbelievable fireworks display, the crowd was ecstatic. Each explosion of sound and colour marked a counterpoint to the music and lifted the cheering crowd to their feet, as the Closing Ceremony brought the Games of your Life to a stunning climax.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Ivan said...

Just came across your blog & I have to say reading it brought back a flood of memories, & I couldn't have described the closing ceremonies any better.
I was there competing for Singapore in sailing.

4:19 PM  

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