KORAT, Dec 6 (Bernama) -- With fireworks lighting up the Korat skyline, the 24th SEA Games in Korat opened in spectacular fashion with lots of glitter and pomp as 8,793 performers from 35 institutions of the Nakhon Rathasima province showcased a series of spell-binding performances at the King's Anniversary Stadium here tonight.
Presided by the Crown Prince of Thailand, Maha Vajiralongkorn, who officially declared the Games open later, Thailand's 2004 Athens Olympic Games weightlifting gold medal winner Udomporn Polsak ran into the stadium with the torch to light up the couldron.
But even before the cauldron was lighted up, the 20,000 odd crowd present were treated to a cultural spectra that depicted the history of Siam, the oldest monarchy in the world.
When the 239-member Malaysian contingent, led by Chef-de-Mission Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad and flag bearer Roslinda Samsu made a grand entry sporting their "Malaysian Tigers" uniform and parading the Jalur Gemilang (Malaysian national flag), they received a rapturous applause from the spectators, who had started filling the stadium as early as 4pm to witness the proceedings that began at 6pm.
Long before the opening ceremony, traffic in and around the stadium came to a crawl as thousands of curious onlookers flocked into the vicinity of the sprawling sports complex to catch a glimpse of the ceremony, regarded as a life time experience for the people of Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat) province.
However, since the stadium only had a 20,000 capacity, many missed the opportunity to witness performances like "The Amazing Great King, The Amazing Spirit, The Amazing Friendship, The Amazing Celebrations" to name a few.