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29th Southeast Asian Games opens with a theatrical display of cultural unity

BY MEG SIOZON

 

MALAYSIA—The 29th Southeast Asian Games opened with a dazzling theatrical display of cultural vibrancy and monumental performances inside the cavernous dome of the Bukit Jalil National Stadium Saturday night.

With the theme “Rising Together,” the largest multi-sport event in Southeast Asia returns to Malaysia after 16 years.

The elaborate celebration commenced with the introduction of Malaysia’s Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di- Pertuan Agong Sultan Muhammad V.  It was also attended by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Yang Amat Berhormat, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak and wife Yang Amat Berbahagia Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.

320 flags paraded representing Malaysia’s 32 million inhabitants followed by the presentation of the 11-participating countries as each delegation marched into the stadium beginning with Brunei Darussalam and followed in order by Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Mynamar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste, Vietnam and finally host Malaysia.

The Philippine contingent paraded led by flag bearer and Taekwondo jin Kristie Elaine Alora, a strong medal prospect.

“Well siyempre very proud din and inspired kasi hindi lahat ng athlete nabibiyayaan maging flag bearer. Isa rin yun sa nagiging key ko to fight very well for this upcoming competition,” Alora said.

The 29th Southeast Asian Games were officially declared open by His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Mohammad the V.

The formal launching of the biennial meet was then followed by huge production numbers showcasing Malaysia’s diversified culture divided into the following: Provenance—showing the origin of each nation; Similarities in diversity, which celebrates the magnificent differences among each nation; and finally, “Together we are Stronger,” which exemplifies the unity among the Southeast Asian nations with emphasis on building ties through inclusion.

The highlight of the evening was the lighting of the SEA Games cauldron, an honor entrusted to Malaysian diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri, signifying the spirit of unity.

The Philippines is fielding a delegation of 491 athletes that will go head-to-head with the region’s best in 36 sports and 404 events in the 12-day sportsfest. | Meg Siozon – PTV Sports

 

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