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National Games open in Nanjing
By Bao Xinyan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-10-13 05:52

President Hu Jintao yesterday announced the opening of the 10th National Games at the Olympic Stadium in Nanjing, capital of Jiangsu Province, the last National Games before the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The 12-day Games, the largest since 1959, will feature 9,985 athletes from 46 delegations competing across 357 events in 32 sports.

National Games open in Nanjing
Actors and actresses perform at the opening ceremony of the 10th National Games held at the Olympics Centere in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province Wednesday October 12, 2005. [Xinhua]

At a press conference prior to the opening, vice-director of State General Administration of Sports, Xiao Tian, emphasized the significance of the Games.

"It has very important tasks of rehearsal for the Olympic Games in 2008, and we have done much for that," he said.

According to Xiao, all 28 Olympic sports have a place in the Games, and younger athletes have been encouraged to take part in the competitions to give them a better chance of being selected for the Olympic Games.

Staff from the Sports Department of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad have worked together with colleagues in Nanjing in putting together the 10th National Games, communicating with each other and collecting experience for the Olympic Games.

National Games open in Nanjing
A robot flies over the Olympics Center to light the main torch in the opening ceremony held at the Olympics Centere in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province Wednesday October 12, 2005. [Xinhua]

Media organizations have also started making their own preparations for covering the 2008 event, sending large numbers of journalists and making the Games a rehearsal for the 2008 Olympics.

Finals had already been held for 16 events, including boxing, diving and fencing, before the opening ceremony.

Another 10 finals took place last night including tennis, volleyball and table tennis.

By today, 113 gold medals had been won in 110 events.

Teams from all over the country took part in the parade, including athletes from Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions.

A three-part performance was given by thousands of performers.

Each section was themed around a different, symbolic colour.

The first section was named "Building Resplendence," which mainly featured red lights, representing the Chinese nation's development.

The second, "Splendid Jiangsu," in green, was symbolic of the natural scenery of Jiangsu Province.

The third part, "Strength of the Divine Land," was mainly lit with orange, changing to all the colours of the rainbow, symbolic of the inclusive nature of the Games.

(China Daily 10/13/2005 page5)

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