HONG KONG ACCOMPANY HOSTS SOUTH KOREA INTO STADIUM AT COLURFUL OPENING CEREMONY
Incheon, 19 September, 2014 - A 200-strong Hong Kong contingent was the last team, but one, to enter the 61,000-capacity stadium at Friday night’s opening but Delegation Chief Karl C. KWOK hoped it was not an omen as far as results are concerned at the 17th Asian Games which gets underway in earnest on Saturday.
“According to the Korean alphabet, H is the last word and as such we were the last team to march out but since South Korea are the hosts, and since the hosts traditionally come last, we came out just before them. I hope being the last alphabet in the Korean language does not mean we will be last in everything,” joked KWOK.
The Hong Kong Chef de Mission labelled the Opening Ceremony as “colourful” and praised the Incheon Asian Games Organising Committee for putting on a “well-orchestrated show”.
KWOK said: “It was fun and entertaining. They did a good job and everything worked smoothly.” The Hong Kong squad had been led out by Windsurfer CHENG Kwok-fai with delegation chief KWOK as well as fellow Vice-President of the Sports Federation & Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China (SF&OC) Brian STEVENSON at the head of the smartly-clad Hong Kong team.
Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, President of SF&OC, was in the VIP stands and waved heartily as Hong Kong marched by.
South Korea President PARK Geun-hye opened the 17th Incheon Asian Games with the words: “I declare the opening of the 17th Asian Games” watched by Thomas BACH, the president of the International Olympic Committee and Sheikh Ahmaf Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, President of the OCA.
The glittering ceremony involved K-Pop boy band EXO who performed while actress and model LEE Young-ae lit the Asian Games cauldron. A full house watched a multi-coloured blaze of fireworks commence the ceremony and then danced in the stands as Korean idol Psy ended the show with a stirring rendition of his famous song Gangnam Style which had the athletes as well swaying to the beat.
“That was the best part of the opening ceremony,” said Ishitaa GIDWANI, captain of the Hong Kong Women’s Cricket team. “I was there in Gunagzhou as well, four years ago but I thought this one was better simply because we got to interact with a lot of other athletes.
“We arrived at the stadium at 5.30pm and as we the last team, other than Korea, to march out, we had to wait until almost 9pm. But we didn’t feel the time as we got to meet other athletes,” GIDWANI said.
GIDWANI and nine other girls from the Hong Kong Women’s Cricket team took part in the march while the rest of her teammates watched from the stands.