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Published: 11:30, September 25, 2023 | Updated: 11:32, September 25, 2023
Homelike atmosphere uplifes SARs athletes' spirits
By Oasis Hu in Hangzhou
Published:11:30, September 25, 2023 Updated:11:32, September 25, 2023 By Oasis Hu in Hangzhou

Delegation of Hong Kong, China parade into the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium during the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province, Sept 23, 2023. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

Athletes from the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, who joined the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games on Saturday, said the audience’s enthusiastic cheers as they entered the stadium created a homelike atmosphere, uplifted their spirits and instilled in them a profound sense of honor as athletes. 

They were captivated by the performances at the ceremony, which showcased the cultural richness of the nation, leaving them in awe.

The opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games was held on Saturday night at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium in the Zhejiang provincial capital. 

For this year’s premiere Asian sporting tournament, the HKSAR is represented by a 940-member delegation, including a record number of some 660 athletes, while Macao sent a team of 273 members, with 183 athletes who will compete in 21 sporting events.

Jamison Kai — a 14-year-old chess player from Hong Kong — said he had hoped to join the opening ceremony for a long time, saying this year’s event was “even more magnificent” than those in the past, crafting a “very impressive and enjoyable scene”

Hong Kong woman skateboarding star Lui Yi-ting said it’s “incredibly exciting” for her to represent the SAR on the global sports stage and join the magnificent opening ceremony for the first time. 

She enjoyed the ceremony’s performances that showcased the traditional culture and the “overall beauty and grandeur of the event”.

Jamison Kai — a 14-year-old chess player from Hong Kong — said he had hoped to join the opening ceremony for a long time, saying this year’s event was “even more magnificent” than those in the past, crafting a “very impressive and enjoyable scene”.

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He also said the most unforgettable moment came when the cheers erupted as the athletes entered the stadium. “It gave me a real sense of honor.” He hopes to break new ground in the upcoming competitions. 

Liu Yu-xin — a 45-year-old Hong Kong women’s Go player — said she was delighted to represent the SAR in Hangzhou, a city she had visited multiple times. 

“I felt a sense of being back at home, something that’s particularly close to my heart,” she said. 

Liu said she appreciated the part of the ceremony showing athletes from various countries marching by, as it embodied the spirit of unity and collaboration among sportsmen and women.

Artists perform during the opening ceremony of the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, east China's Zhejiang province, Sept 23, 2023. (ANDY CHONG / CHINA DAILY)

Ho Ho-yin — a 12-year-old male Go player — said he was deeply impressed when the ceremony reached its climax when the cauldron was lighted, a moment symbolizing the spirit that athletes should embody, and inspiring them to strive for greatness. 

Cheang Weng-lam, a 22-year-old female swimmer from Macao, was chosen as the flag bearer for the Macao delegation. 

Ho Ho-yin — a 12-year-old male Go player — said he was deeply impressed when the ceremony reached its climax when the cauldron was lighted, a moment symbolizing the spirit that athletes should embody, and inspiring them to strive for greatness

Leading the delegation and standing in front of the SAR’s team, she said she was deeply moved by the crowds’ overwhelming cheers, making her feel welcomed and excited.

The grandeur of the ceremony, coupled with the visually stunning performances, also left a lasting impression on her, Cheang said.

READ MORE: Hangzhou greets HK athletes

Huang Junhua, a wushu athlete from Macao, said the cheers from the crowd bolstered his sense of pride and motivated him to fight for Macao’s honor in the upcoming competitions. 

Having previously won a gold medal at the 2018 Asian Games, he pledged to try his best to enjoy the competition and bring further glory to his home city.

Chan Man-man, a 23-year-old female boxer from Macao, said the live performances during the opening ceremony combined visual aesthetics and artistic displays, offering a truly enjoyable experience for her.

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