Asian Games opening ceremony ‘absolutely fantastic’, says Rogge


Guangzhou: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge was spell-bound with the Asian Games opening ceremony here, calling it “absolutely fantastic”.

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Rogge, who is here on a three-day, whirl-wind visit to the southern Chinese city, attended the Asiad opening ceremony held Friday night on Haixinsha Island along the Pearl river. For the first time in the history of sports, the ceremony was not held inside a stadium.

“I think it was an absolutely fantastic opening ceremony. It was technically very sound. There were a lot of emotions, a lot of startling beauties,” Rogge was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

“And I liked the activities using the river and also the backdrop of the city behind the scene. It was very nice.”

The IOC chief, however, refused to compare the Asian Games opening ceremony to that of the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

“It’s like you ask a father to compare his kids,” said Rogge. “You cannot compare different opening ceremonies. You cannot compare Guangzhou with Beijing, you cannot compare Guangzhou with other cities. Let me just say, this is a unique and good opening ceremony.”

Although Rogge could not spare time to watch the competitions and venues, he exuded confidence about China’s successful hosting of the event.

“I think it’s going to be a very good organisation,” he said.

“Like always, you can only judge the organisation after the last day…But I am very confident because I know my Chinese friends are masters of organising major events, and definitely, sports events.”

Guangzhou is the second Chinese city to host the Asian Games. Beijing had staged the event in 1990.