2006 Asian Games opening ceremony
The 2006 Asian Games Opening Ceremony was held in Doha, Qatar on 1 December 2006 to mark the start of the 15th Asian Games. The ceremony took place in the multi-purpose Khalifa International Stadium, which was specifically renovated for the Asian Games. The ceremony was attended by over 50,000 spectators, as well as approximately 20,000 athletes and performers. Several Asian heads-of-state and the President of the International Olympic Committee Jacques Rogge were in attendance. The officials and organizers of the ceremony promised it to be the most spectacular opening ceremony in recent years. The Opening Ceremony was described by the media to be one of the most breath-taking and technologically spectacular multi-sports event ceremony, and the most expensive multi-sports event ceremony (including both Opening and Closing ceremonies) in the history of Asian Games.
Created and produced by David Atkins Enterprises, the opening ceremony of the 15th Asian Games Doha 2006 focused on the future of youth and their dreams that await them. Qatari children were the first to perform. They entered the stadium and spent 10 exuberant minutes creating a cultural and traditional Arabian carpet sometimes referred to as a Qatari sadu carpet on the stadium floor.
After, another plethora of youngsters from ASPIRE, sprinted around the stadium in a sheer energy and joyfulness chasing the official mascot of the games - Orry the Arabian oryx. Qatar always wanted to be on the sports map again and this performance done by the youngsters created an emphasis on youth to comprehend that Qatar wants to be the sports capital of the Middle East. However, this was just a small portion of this described as magnificent and wonderful opening ceremony. The stadium was filled with spectators from all around the Asian continent also some of their heads-of-state in attendance to support their country. An array of lights lit the stadium with multi-coloured lights.
The ceremony started with the welcome of Emir of Qatar Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani with the OCA chairman Sheikh Ahmed Al-Fahad and his wife. After that, a 10 second countdown began to signal the starting of the opening ceremony. The message "peace upon to you" from a group of 2,300 young people with the Arabic greeting of "asslamualaikum" after the countdown. A group of children, led by Nasser Khaled Al Kubaisi, then sang Qatar's national anthem and raised the national flag.
The first part of the show, called "The Journey Begins", tells about a young man called the "Seeker" leaving his family, and Nura, his love and beginning his discovery of Asia, guided only by the stars and his astrolabe. After encountering a fierce storm at sea, he was rescued by a giant falcon, landing him on safe ground where he continued his path to discovering the colourful history and cultures of Asia. The Angkor Wat, the Taj Mahal, the Temple of Heaven and Borobudur were among the important landmarks he passed. The Seeker was also treated to a multicultural presentation that displayed the cultures of different Asian regions. Nura, on the other hand, descended into the stadium with a very large piece of cloth trailing her, covering the entire eastern stands, and sang in Arabic, "Atone, Atone Oh Sea!" as she despairs, waiting for the arrival of her love. With his Asian brothers helping him in his way back to his homeland, the Seeker safely made it back to Nura, and invited all of Asia to celebrate their wedding.
The latter part of the cultural programme focused on the Seeker showing his son the Arab world's contributions to modern science in the past, the present and the future. Sixty-four horsemen also entered the stadium in the segment 'Tribute to the Desert Horseman.'
After the Athlete's Oath and Judge's Oath, as well as opening speeches and remarks were finished, delegates from the 45 countries and regions of Asia entered the stadium. For the third time after Olympics 2000 and 2004, North Korea and South Korea jointly entered the stadium under one flag. Performances from Hong Kong's Jacky Cheung, who sang "Together Now", as well as India's Bollywood star Sunidhi Chauhan who sang "Reach Out" were a tribute to the athletes. Lebanon's Majida El Roumi and Spanish tenor José Carreras performed "Light the Way".
The most dramatic moment was when Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Al-Thani rode his horse up the stairs to the top of the stadium to light up the giant cauldron in the form of a giant astrolabe. The flame was transferred electronically to the Aspire Tower just outside the stadium, and fireworks soon went off, signalling the start of the 2006 Asian Games. The horse nearly slipped in the process. A clip of this was internationally viewed.