2011 Asian Winter Games opening ceremony

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The opening ceremony of the 2011 Asian Winter Games was held at the Astana Arena, in Astana, Kazakhstan. It began at 6:00 PM (UTC+06:00) on 30 January 2011 and lasted approximately three hours.[1][2]

An estimated 30,000 were in attendance at the venue. There were an estimated 700 performers.[3]

2011 Asian Winter Games



Opening section[edit]

A dramatised performance based on traditional Kazakh epic poems accompanied by a group of ethnic drummers, which was followed by a volley of red fireworks began the show.[8]

National anthem[edit]

Members of the Kazakhstan army marched the Kazakh flag to the flagpost. The anthem was then sung by Azamat Zheltyrguzov while the flag was risen.[8]

Parade of Nations[edit]

According to the Olympic Council of Asia's protocols, countries will march in order of their IOC Code.[1] Below is list of countries that are confirmed to compete and their national flagbearers during the ceremony. All the countries were given warm receptions by the crowd, however a deafening welcoming roar was given to the home team.[1]

Order Nation Flagbearer Sport
1 Afghanistan Unknown Chef De Mission
2 Bahrain Ice hockey
3 China
4 North Korea Ri Song Chol Figure skating
5 Hong Kong Wang Xinyue Short track speed skating
6 India Tashi Lundup Cross country skiing
7  Indonesia** Unknown Official
8 Iran Alidad Saveh-Shemshaki Alpine skiing coach
9 Japan
10 Jordan
11 South Korea Park Woo-sang Ice hockey
12 Kyrgyzstan
13 Lebanon No Flag bearer* -
14 Malaysia Haniff Mahmood[9] Ice hockey
15 Mongolia
16 Nepal Unknown Official
17 Palestine Mohammed El Batta Alpine skiing
18 Philippines Zhaira Costiniano Figure skating
19 Qatar Thamer Al-Mohannadi[10] Speed skating
20 Singapore Lucas Ng Short track speed skating
21 Chinese Taipei
22 Tajikistan Alpine skiing
23 Thailand Ice hockey
24 United Arab Emirates Ice hockey
25 Uzbekistan
26 Kuwait Ice hockey
27 Kazakhstan

*During the Opening Ceremony Lebanon was announced to the crowd and a Placard bearer came out, but was followed by no members of the delegation. ** Indonesia had no athletes competing, rather officials participating.

Cultural Program[edit]

Kazakh opera diva Nurzhamal Usenbaeva then performed a song specially composed for the Games opening an impressive show that involved more than 700 actors and dancers including Belgian singer Lara Fabian singing her new song "Always".[1][11]

Also included in the cultural show was the history of Kazakhstan, with a bird’s eye view from an eagle swooping over the vast plains. With dance, song and distinctive musical instruments, the props came to life – notably when water cascaded from the top of the set and lighting transformed the stage into a rough sea to rock the boat looking for new lands.[12]

Also, "The gift packs for the visitors inside the 30,000-seat indoor football stadium included a bag of four snowball-size white sponge balls. Taking their lead from a band of tiny-tot performers dressed as flowers towards the end of the cultural show, the audience opened their packet of “snowballs” and proceeded to pelt anyone and everyone in sight"[12]

Entry of the Olympic Council of Asia Flag[edit]

6 famous athletes and coaches carried the flag. They were:[13]


The athletes and jury pronounced solemn oaths before the banner of the Olympic Council of Asia.[13]

Opening remarks/Official Opening[edit]

The mayor of Astana Imangali Tasmagambetov gave a speech. "The Asiad is being held by Kazakhstan due to the initiative of President Nursultan Nazarbayev. The victory of an athlete is the victory of the country".[13]

This was followed by president of the Olympic council of Asia Ahmed Al-Fahad Al-Ahmed Al-Sabah also giving a welcoming speech. "Kazakhstan is a very respectful member of the international sport community. The Olympic Council of Asia congratulates President Nursultan Nazarbayev, the Government of Kazakhstan, mayors and people of Astana and Almaty".[13]

The games were then officially opened by the president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev.[13]

Lighting of the Cauldron[edit]

The Olympic torch relay, which had criss-crossed the country during January, arrived at its final destination at the Astana Arena, with a group of the country's most decorated sports veterans jointly lighting the Games flame.[8]

This followed by Korean oprea singer Sumi Jo singing "Angels Pass Away".[14]

Finally, another barrage of fireworks that lit up the night sky of the Kazakhstan capital to close the show.[8]