Re­gional Games host strikes gold with help from Bei­jing

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD REVIEW - By ZHAO SHENGNAN zhaosheng­nan@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

As the daz­zling open­ing cer­e­mony of the 27th South­east Asian Games took place in Wunna Theikdi Sta­dium in the Myan­mar cap­i­tal of Nay Pyi Taw on Wed­nes­day, Lyu Guoguang, a Chi­nese cit­i­zen at­tend­ing the event, was as “proud and grat­i­fied”, if not more so, as the lo­cal peo­ple.

“Sports co­op­er­a­tion be­tween China and Myan­mar has proved to be very suc­cess­ful,” said Lyu, gen­eral- man­ager of China Sport In­ter­na­tional Co­op­er­a­tion.

Myan­mar se­cured 18 gold medals in com­pe­ti­tions be­fore the open­ing cer­e­mony and leads the medals ta­ble at the largest sport­ing event in South­east Asia.

“Look at all the gold medals that ath­letes from Myan­mar have won so far,” Lyu said. “The num­ber is al­ready higher than the 16 it pock­eted last time,” at the 2011 games.

The South­east Asian Games, which will run un­til Dec 22, fea­ture 33 sports and 6,000 ath­letes. Myan­mar is field­ing 1,000 ath­letes, and the coun­try will par­tic­i­pate in all 33 sports.

Lyu’s com­pany was part of China’s ef­fort to help Myan­mar or­ga­nize the event and train that coun­try’s ath­letes. Un­der an agree­ment sealed in Septem­ber 2012, China sent about 700 ex­perts, in­clud­ing coaches, game man­agers, stage de­sign­ers and tech­ni­cians, to as­sist Myan­mar with event plan­ning and the ath­letes’ train­ing.

Lyu’s com­pany helped Myan­mar with train­ing and game man­age­ment sys­tems. Since De­cem­ber 2012, it has sent 28 coaches to work in Myan­mar for one year and in­vited 176 ath­letes from Myan­mar in 11 sport­ing events to re­ceive 90 days of train­ing in China.

China Arts and En­ter­tain­ment Group has pro­vided light­ing, the sound sys­tem and tech­ni­cal ad­vice for the open­ing and clos­ing cer­e­monies.

Lyu was ex­cited about the re­sults, say­ing that of the first five mar­tial arts gold medal­ists, three were coached by Chi­nese and the other two once trained in China.

The ath­letes’ im­pres­sive per­for­mances mean a lot to the South­east Asian coun­try. Myan­mar is host­ing the Games for the first time in more than four decades, mark­ing both a re­turn to in­ter­na­tional sports and emer­gence from decades of Western iso­la­tion.

“For Myan­mar, the games are even more im­por­tant than the Asian Games, and its peo­ple want to get more in­volved in the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity through them,” Lyu said. “Many in Myan­mar, from of­fi­cials to or­di­nary peo­ple, said they ap­pre­ci­ate China’s sin­cere help.”

VIN­CENT THIAN / AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Fire­works ex­plode over the open­ing cer­e­mony of the 27th South­east Asian Games in Nay Pyi Taw on Wed­nes­day.

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