The 5th Asian Beach Games (ABG5) officially began on Saturday night in Da Nang with a colourful opening ceremony at the East Sea Park. Despite the unfavourable weather conditions, the ceremony was held professionally and solemnly, and it left a good impression on both locals and visitors.
Amongst the participants at the ceremony were some of Vietnamese state leaders namely Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Minister for Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien, along with leaders of the Da Nang authorities, including municipal Party Committee Secretary Nguyen Xuan Anh and municipal People’s Committee Chairman Huynh Duc Tho.
The ceremony officially started at 8:10pm with a procession of the flags of Viet Nam, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) and ABG5, followed by a parade of contestants from 42 countries participating in the continent-level sports event.
In his opening speech, Minister Thien remarked, “In active response to the OCA’s initiative to organise ABG, Viet Nam has enthusiastically participated in the 4 past events”. He also affirmed that the biannual event aims to boost the solidarity, friendship and cooperation amongst the participating countries in order to build a peaceful and prosperous Asia for the benefit of all people in the region.
Chairman Tho underlined “Today’s event will go down in Da Nang’s history as the city has been given great honour to host ABG5. Da Nang is known globally for its My Khe Beach which has been voted one of the 6 most beautiful beaches in the world by the US Forbes Magazine. Over recent years, the city’s authorities and local residents have made the great efforts to build Da Nang into a more civilised and modern city, as well as to maintain its reputation as an attractive, safe and friendly destination for both domestic and international tourists”.
The President of the OCA, Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Sabah, highly praised the Vietnamese government, along with the Da Nang authorities and its people for ensuring the best preparations for the event. Given such great efforts by the host city, and Viet Nam as a whole, ABG5 will be successful.
One of the most impressive moments at the opening ceremony was the torch relay from the beach to the fire station on the stage made by Hoang Xuan Vinh-Viet Nam’s ace shooter and first-ever Olympic gold medalist, along with other outstanding Vietnamese athletes, namely Van Ngoc Tu, Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat, Nguyen Huy Hoang, and Nguyen Huyen Trang. The torch relay reflected the spirit of solidarity to make ASEAN a peaceful and prosperous common house.
The opening ceremony was closed by a fanscinating arts programme entitled ‘Bien Goi’ (The Sea is Calling) and a spectacular fireworks display.