Athlete Hoang Xuan Vinh lighting the cauldron after the torch arrived off the sea by a flotilla of jetskis
The ceremony witnessed the attendance of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, President of the International Olympic Council Thomas Bach, Chairman of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, Secretary of the Da Nang Party Committee Nguyen Xuan Anh, Chairman of the city People’s Committee Huynh Duc Tho, along with more than 6,500 athletes, coaches and officials from 42 countries and territories participating in the Asian biennual sporting event.
The Games were declared open by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc after a dazzling ceremony showcasing Asia’s cultural diversity and affinity with the sea. Hoang Xuan Vinh, who won Viet Nam’s first ever Olympic gold medal, in pistol shooting at last month’s Rio Olympics, was given the honour of lighting the cauldron after the torch arrived off the sea by a flotilla of jetskis, triggering an explosion of fireworks that lit up the city.
Addressing the event, Chairman Huynh Duc Tho said that “In addition to the beautiful landscapes gifted by the nature, in the recent two decades, the city’s authorities and local residents have constantly made attempts to build Da Nang into a modern and civilised urban, and an attractive, safe and hospitable destination for international and domestic tourists”. The city leader added he hoped that the city’s efforts would contribute to creating favourable conditions for the athletes to compete and have interesting experiences when exploring Viet Nam as well as the young and beautiful city of Da Nang.
The Minister for Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien 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.
The opening ceremony was closed by a fascinating arts programme entitled “The Sea is Calling” and a spectacular fireworks display.
Asian Beach Games, initiated by OCA, is one of the biggest sporting events in Asia.