Rained on but not rained out: a thunderous start to the 5th Asian Beach Games in Da Nang. Thousands of spectators packed along the white sand for the opening ceremony yesterday.
There was a profound sense of déjà vu here this evening as a second successive Asian Beach Games Opening Ceremony was hit by a tropical rain storm that may have drenched all those present – but failed to dampen their spirits.
It is an old proverb that red sky in the morning is a shepherd’s warning of impending rain, but maybe a better indicator would be that an Asian Beach Games is due to open.
Just like in Phuket two years ago, where the beginning of the Ceremony was briefly delayed due to a torrential downpour, rain began to fall at the precise moment where the first teams from Afghanistan and Bangladesh entered the stadium.
Within moments there was pandemonium as spectators scurried for cover, while struggling to cover themselves with the free ponchos helpfully provided by organisers.
This was made harder by an increasingly strong wind which was blowing the rain directly into their faces.
It revived memories not just of Phuket 2014 but of the similarly wet opening to the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
Athletes, who make a living out of overcoming adversity, were undeterred and continued to parade as the storm blew harder.
As on the previous occasions, the hostility of the weather gradually added to the occasion and fostered a sense of community and camaraderie among those present.
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach showed customary tenacity to remain in his suit until the downpour was virtually over before belatedly pulling on a blue poncho.
Conditions gradually dried and – save for another flurry at the end – stopped altogether to allow the Beach Games Cauldron to be lit.
This was done in dramatic fashion as six jet skis cruised into Danang Bay before Torches were passed to six Flamebearers, one of whom was Nguyen Tran Duy Nhat from the Vietnamese Muaythai Team. This was an incredible honour for muaythai.
They then ran into the stadium before triumphantly lighting the Torch in a Ceremony broadcast live on Vietnamese television.
“This is more than just a sporting event,” declared Olympic Council of Asia President Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah.
“It is a chance to have fun and be educated in the beautiful city of Danang.”
The fifth Asian Beach Games was then officially declared open by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc.
An array of artistic and musical performances were then held to introduce the “famous chanties, unique customs and people’s rituals” of Vietnam.
This included Hue royal court music and the space of Gong culture in the nearby Tay Nguyen region.
It aimed to reflect the “beauty of Vietnam’s sea with imposing natural wonders, charming and harmonious landscapes and friendly people”.
Story credit: Nick Butler (Inside the Games(
Story Source: http://www.insidethegames.biz/articles/1041998/deja-vu-as-rain-dampens-but-fails-to-disrupt-second-successive-asian-beach-games-opening-ceremony