Regional Games host strikes gold with help from Beijing
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.”
Fireworks explode over the opening ceremony of the 27th Southeast Asian Games in Nay Pyi Taw on Wednesday.