Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Grand Welcome For Asean Para Games Participants

NAYPYITAW, Jan 14 (Bernama) -- In a myriad of colours and with a touch of the host nation's hospitality, the 7th Asean Para Games was declared open by Myanmar's President U Thein Sein at the Wunna Teikdi Main Stadium, here Tuesday night.

The 7th Asean Para Games from Jan 14 to 20 is themed "Green, Clean and Friendship".

The arrival of U Thein Sein and his wife, Daw Khin Khin Win and guests including Malaysia's Youth and Sports Deputy Minister Datuk M. Saravanan at the stadium was greeted with a stunning fireworks display.

The thousands of spectators present were then entertained with traditional orchestra performances by school and university students who moved around the stadium on colourful and unique floats.

This was followed by the procession of the 10 competing contingents in alphabetical order, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and host nation, Myanmar were the last to enter the stadium.

The Malaysian contingent clad in the "Malayan Tiger" national jersey, was led by Chef-de-Mission Datuk Zakaria Musa and Malaysian flag bearer, Muhammad Ziyad Zolkefli.

As for the Malaysian contingent, they are banking their hopes on 151 athletes, including 23 female athletes, in 205 events in 11 sports at the biennial Games.

Malaysia are not taking part in sitting volleyball.

The national contingent finished in third placing overall at the last Asean Para Games in Solo, Indonesia with 51 gold medals, 36 silver and 45 bronze.

At this year's Asean Para Games, about 1,800 athletes are competing in the seven-day Games and 12 sports will be contested -- archery, athletics, boccia, chess, five-a-side football (blind), seven-a-side football (cerebral palsy), goalball, powerlifting, swimming, table tennis, sitting volleyball and wheelchair basketball.

Myanmar is hosting the Asean Para Games for the first time.

The previous editions were held in Kuala Lumpur in 2001 and 2009; Hanoi (2003); Manila (2005); Nakhonratchasima, Thailand (2008) and Solo (2011).

From Farhanah Azmi

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