KUALA LUMPUR: For about two hours under the newly-refurbished roof of the Bukit Jalil Stadium, thousands of spectators – from both in and outside of Malaysia – were left spellbound by the opening ceremony performances at the 29th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games on Saturday (Aug 19).
The ceremony, which culminated with an extravagant fireworks show that lit up the Kuala Lumpur night sky, was attended by Malaysia’s monarch Yang Di-Pertuan Agung Sultan Muhammad V and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Lighting the SEA Games cauldron was Malaysian diver Nur Dhabitah Sabri, who won the bronze medal in the 10m synchronised platform event at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Hosted by Malaysian entertainers Yasmin Yusof and Raymond Goh, the four-act cultural display showcased Malaysia’s origins and its diversity, as well as celebrating ASEAN unity through song and dance.
The show-stealers were the LED displays which dotted Bukit Jalil Stadium’s seating areas at the upper-tiers and flashed in synchrony with the various display segments.
Singapore’s 840-strong sporting contingent, led by flag-bearer and Olympic shooter Jasmine Ser, were among the different ASEAN countries involved in the march-past of the opening ceremony. The Lion City is sending 568 athletes for the 2017 SEA Games, together with 271 officials for the regional sporting event.
Hosts Malaysia has the most athletes at the games, with 844 athletes competing while Thailand has the most personnel, with 816 athletes and 446 officials involved at the SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur.
While some sports have kicked off prior to the opening ceremony, the conclusion of the opening ceremony formally launches 11 days of sporting action, featuring 405 events from 38 sports.
Winter sports such as ice skating and ice hockey will be making its debut in this Games, which also features sports such as Tarung Derajat, cricket and bridge.