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The rich pageantry of Laos culture were at the forefront this evening as Laos President His Excellency Choummaly Sayasone officially declared open the 25th edition of the SEA Games which the country is playing host to for the first time ever. In a glittering ceremony participated by more than 6,000 performers, the much-anticipated event this evening began with a medley of traditional Laos favourites as it built up to a crescendo with seven unique dances from performers in multi-coloured ethnic costumes at the end.
After the arrivals of Laos dignitaries and government leaders which also included the Prime Minister of Cambodia, His Excellency Hun Sen; the Prime Minister of Myanmar, His Excellency Thein Sein; Thailand’s Prime Minister, His Excellency Abhisit Vejjajiva and Vietnam’s Prime Minister, His Excellency Nguy?n T?n Dung, the speech from Laos Deputy Prime Minister His Excellency Somsavat Lengsavad took place. In his speech, Somsavat said that even though Laos were a founding member of ASEAN in June, 1959, it has not been possible for the country to hosts the biennial SEA Games until now.

“Considering that this year marked the 50th Anniversary of ASEAN, it reflected the utmost satisfaction and legitimate pride of the entire Laos nation to be hosts.”

With that, Laos President His Excellency Choummaly Sayasone declared open the 25th SEA Games as the sky lit up with a splendid display of fireworks before the 16 torch bearers took part in the lighting of the SEA Games flame. The last torch bearer was Laos’ national hero Phoxay Aphailatho, who earned the country a silver medal in wushu at the 2006 Asian Games, as an archer shot an alighted arrow from some 50metres out to light the cauldron.

Then, the contingent of the 11 participating countries were ushered in by the Laos Police Band with Brunei Darussalam at the start with 79 athletes and officials, Cambodia (204), East Timor (77), Indonesia (465), Malaysia (469), Myanmar (404), Philippines (413), Singapore (392), Thailand (842), Vietnam (671) and finally hosts Laos with 743-strong.

(By: WSL MSC Sdn. Bhd. (Malaysia) – ICT Committee)