Dear All, As you all would be aware by now, the Grand Opening Ceremony of the 15th Asian Games, 2006 finally happened in Doha on 1st December and I had the rare opportunity of witnessing such a magnificent, spectacular event with all glory ! I see it as my pleasure and take this opportunity to give you a brief update about the Asian Games Opening Ceremony and few stunning pictures of the event. Hope you all would enjoy reading and viewing the show ! Asian Games will go on upto the 15th Decemeber followed by a Closing Ceremony. Love, Preethi ------------------------------------------------------------- THE 15TH ASIAN GAMES, 2006 - A GRAND OPENING AT DOHA - A FIRST HAND REPORT The Long Awaited moment for Qatar finally arrived on the Friday Evening at the Khalife Stadium, Doha, Qatar - The Opening Ceremony of the 15th Asian Games, 2006. The Opening Ceremony of Asian Games can be stated as one of the most Spectacular events that the World has witnessed in its recent times. The highlight of the Show was the film which started off showing the history and culture of Qatar and ending with the futuristic look at Doha on the World's biggest LED Screen,measuring 63 metres in height at its highest point and 153 metres wide combined with a Spectaular Show on ground performed by several artiste. The video shown on the huge screen, as well as the show on the floor of the stadium using several special effects , gave a feel of looking at a high-tech graphic-filled, gripping , Scientific Hollywood Blockbuster. The stage set up at the center of the field, descended 12 metres below the field and could be loaded with props and scenery weighing 40 tons. The bind-blowing view for the spectators were a Mountain rising from the ground with a man on top of it, a child hoisted into the air on a platform coming out from the ground. Time to time, the audience were kept in awe and wonder anticipating the next visual effect with excitement ! The Opening Ceremony started at 7:00 on Friday December 1, 2006, preceeded by a Pre-Opening Ceremony starting around 5:00PM lasting for 2 hours, entertaining the audience. The Venue, Khalifa Stadium, which hosted the Ceremony is a massive stadium accomodating about 50,000 spectators. The Pre-Opening Ceremony included an Welcoming speech by the comperors followed by few dances performance by various artiste. The Asian Games Masot, The Orry, (An Oryx, the National Animal of Qatar), ran into the field from different points and spread out the peace message to the audiance. The Orry with the help of the Comperors explained to the huge audiance how to use the Participation kit kept under every seat in the auditorium. Each of the spectator was presented a participating kit, which contained various props like the Nation Flag, A Golden Flag, Floresuent Ball, LED Sticks, Burstable Paper Cracker, Glowing Watch ,a Paper Dove, Small Drum etc meant to be used at various intervals for cheering up ,and to show to the world the enthusiasm of the Qatar crowd. The whole mass were going mad with excitement and with these props, there were jubliant responses and participation from the crowd right from the start till the end, who raised each prop at the appropriate time and let out loud cheer. The Opening Ceremony was aired live at the stroke of 7 P.M local time and the 5000 performers of the opening event flooded the floor of the stadium to gloriously form the Word "PEACE" using lighted torch, both in Arabic and English. The history of Qatar was explained through a Story of a Seeker, travelling to different Asian Countries and extending friendship with his Asian neighbours and finally arriving at Qatar. For the narration, a boat was brought into the middle of the stadium and was made to move around with graphics effects on the floors , while the LED Projector showed realistic animations of storm, seas, sea creatures, sea monstors, monsoon changes, clouds and the moon. The LED Projection and the grahics on the stadium floor synchronised so well that it forged our eyes to belive that there was actually a storm in the middle of the stadium. The story had few stunning scenes which were embossed with high-tech visual effects like , when the Sea Monster thrust his trident forward, a line rocket shot off the screen into the middle of the stadium knocking the Person off his boat, A bird flew into the centre of the stadium and carried the man high up in the air, different Qatari faces appeared on the floor of the stadium, which were all an added attraction. There were couple of performances (songs) from various world wide renowned artiste like Japan's Jacky Cheung, Spanish tenor Jose Carreras, Bollywood star Sunidhi Chauhan and Lebanese artist Magida El Roumi. When Jackyu Cheung was singing, the spectators were made to participate in the song by beating their dreams which were a part of the Participatory kit. They were all widely cheered by the fanatic sell-out crowd. There were various dance shows performance by different artists from various parts of the world too. Representing India there was Bharathnatiyam and bhangra dance along with the rest. Following all the performances, there was a Parade of all the Athletes (around 10,000) from the 40 countries who have come for the Asian Games. The Stadium floor in no time was filled with thousands of men and women, representing their countries , carrying their country flag and assembling one behind the other in row. After the hour-long parade had ended and all athletes were in the stadium, the chairman of the Doha Asian Games Organizing Committee, the Heir Apparent of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani and the president of the Asian Olympic Council of Asia, Sheik Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah delivered official speeches of welcome. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani then officially opened the 15th Asian Games with the simple message: "I declare the 15th Asian Games open." After those words, the flag of the Asian Olympic Committee was brought into the stadium and raised. Thereafter a representative of the athletes, as well as the judges took the Asian Games oath. The Grand Finale of the Event was the torch ceremony, in which the captain of the Qatar equestrian team, Sheikh Mohammed, came out from under the Stadium stage on a horse, received the torch and rode up the steep slope to the top of the tribune before lighting the cauldron. While the Cauldron was lit inside the Stadium, the Asian Games Giant Torch outside the Stadium was simultaneously lit, to announce to the Country of Qatar and to the world that, "the games has begun"..This was a significant moment in the history of Qatar and to celebrate this glorious moment, there was a standing ovation from the audiance shouting their happiness and wishing the Emir and the State of Qatar. Soon after the torch was lit, fireworks began to burst above the open stadium and it was a sight to watch ! Everyone were baffled by the vibrant display of the night crackers in the sky and it added more beauty to the event. Whoever has seen and witnessed the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Asian Games, can be assured that all the efforts that went into its making, were not in vain and without any slightest doubts, it had been a mind-blowing show marking the grand success and giving the biggest pride to the State of Qatar ! Qatar will be ever remembered in history, for its spectacular opening of Asian Games, which was the first and last of its own kind. ------------------------------------------------------------- P.S : The Photos of the Grand Opening Ceremony will be posted shortly.