Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Deaflympics opening ceremony to highlight perseverance and strength of participants

A fourth grader who is challenged in hearing will make his dramatic appearance astride a water buffalo during the two-and-a half hour opening ceremony of the Deaflympics Taipei 2009 on September 5, announced the Deaflympics Taipei Organizing Committee.

The traditional farm animal from Taiwan’s former agricultural society is intended to be a symbol of the perseverance and hard work of the physically challenged athletes at the Deaflympics Taipei 2009 to unfold from September 5 to 15.

Stan Lai (see file photo), Taiwan’s most influential playwright and theater director, will direct a one-hour production during the opening ceremony. He will bring in the lad named Cheng Kun-hsing on the carabao and have him lead other children at the start of a scenario which will tell the story of the evolution of Taipei from rural to urban setting.

Dancers creating an ocean scene will open the program and pave the way for suggestions of the tilling of the land. When little Cheng, who is enrolled at the Taipei School for the Deaf, appears, he will be joined by other children, who will create a field scene. Together, the children in the program will use the sign language to say eloquently: "This is a beautiful land. Perseverance or focus will lead to accomplishment. The strength lies in you.”

Model Patina Lin's picture (above) is from the 2009 Deaflympics Taipei website. She will be featured as a flying ocean goddess during the opening ceremony.

Celebrities expected at the event will include Chang Hui-mei, Taiwan's pop diva who will be transformed into an airborne singing bird. She will perform the theme song of the Deaflympics Taipei 2009. Aboriginal singer Kimbo's voice will also dramatically fill the stadium at one point, vocalizing "Power in Me." International action star Jet Li will be one of the VIP guests.

President Ma Ying-jeou will declare the 11-day Deaflympics Taipei open, using the sign language. Throughout the program, there will be invocations for blessings. Prayer lanterns will be used. Technical experts from the Sydney Olympics and Doha Asian Games have been sought to handle the lighting up of the stadium during the big opening event. Fireworks will also ignite the night.

The 2009 Deaflympics Taipei will see the participation of over 8,000 athletes from 91 countries. Taiwan's 202 athletes who will be fielded in 16 events will aim to win at least 12 gold medals.

Deaflympics Taipei has enlisted the help of 9,763 volunteers. Their ages range from 15 to 72. They have received lessons in the sign language. Likewise, 5,510 law enforcers have undergone similar training in the run up to the Deaflympics Taipei.

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