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Impressive ceremony marks World Championships opening

posted on 16/12/2010: 1792 views

The UAE threw its arms wide open to the swimming world as the 10th Fina World Swimming Championships (25m) got under way with an impressive opening ceremony at the brand-new Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Sports Complex yesterday.

The opening, that was held in two parts, first witnessed the formal inauguration of the US$350 million (Dh1 billion) complex followed by the opening of the championships in the presence of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman, Dubai Sports Council and Princess Haya Bint Al Hussain, wife of His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Sheikh Hasher Maktoum, Dubai Director of Information, was also present.

"This is by far the best swimming facility in the world today," Fina President Dr Julio Maglione told the media a few minutes before the opening ceremony.

"You have everything — the facilities, the infrastructure and the hospitality — that is essential to surpass everything else and be the best in the world," he added.

Artistic tale

Organised by event management company, Prisme, the ceremony unfolded an artistic tale that begins with the nomadic heritage of the UAE, travelling through the golden sands of the desert and time and concluding with the flourishing of the coastal port of Dubai.

The theme of water, echoed in the Championships' colours of turquoise and aquamarine was central to the opening, showcasing the marriage between sports and culture, while also capturing the traditional Arabic heritage and modern innovation that are the two integral faces of a vibrant and booming Dubai today.

This was followed by the parade of the participating countries — up to a record 153 from the earlier number of 148 — carrying their respective national colours. The cheering crowd was treated to a heavenly sight as a violinist descended on a special platform playing the original score that has been composed for the opening extravaganza as acrobats suspended from the roof of the pool formed the backdrop. "These historical moments will be forever inscribed in the history of sports not only in the UAE but the entire Middle East," Dr Ahmad Sa'ad Al Sharif, Secretary-General, Dubai Sports Council and Chairman, Higher Organising Committee, said in his welcome address to the gathering.

He thanked Sheikh Mohammad for his vision of utilising sports as a medium to transform the country into its current status of being among the best in the world. – Gulf News


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