Spectators enjoy opening ceremony of Wuhan Military World Games

By sports writers Xiao Shiyao, Yu Pei and Wang Zichen

WUHAN, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) — A splendid “Flame of Peace” shone through the night over the Wuhan Sports Center with the theme song “Torch of Peace” echoing, marking the grand opening ceremony of 7th Military World Games in the central Chinese city Wuhan on Friday.

“The whole ceremony is designed around the idea of peace,” said Yang Xiaoyang, chief director of the opening ceremony. “Our performances aim to tell the world about Chinese people’s wishes for peace.”

Entitled “Torch of Peace,” the extravaganza showcased not only traditional Chinese culture but also an open and peace-loving modern China, who calls for building a community of shared future for humankind.

“Thousands of shield warriors used different formations to convey the idea that ‘the real force is for the sake of peace’, which shows the wisdom of ancient Chinese military philosophy,” said Liu Yutang, a cultural scholar and spectator at the event.

The experienced professor was impressed by the extraordinary visualization of “Belt and Road” part during the performance. “It’s truly beautiful. I can see from it that the ‘Belt and Road’ initiative aims to promote connectivity and embrace diversity.”

It’s the first time for China to hold the military gala, which included the world’s largest 3D stage, taking advantage of cutting-edge projectors, lights and LED displays to form the 3D effect and panoramic images for the audience around the world.

“I participated in 2008 Beijing Olympics opening ceremony. We had foreign experts and foreign equipment back then. But this time it is different,” noted Yang, who claimed “everything in the opening ceremony is ‘made in China’.”

“Every single piece of the stage [is made in China]. 100 percent,” Yang said with confidence.

By the end of the dazzling hour-long show, the last torch bearer, former basketball player Liu Yudong, went up the stairs and lit up a water fountain, and then a “blue and white porcelain shaped” cauldron, and the whole stadium burst into thunderous applause.

Liu, who has served in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army since 1989, expressed his excitement to Xinhua. “As a serviceman, the Military World Games being held on home soil for me is so special.”

“The whole process and the holy flame was exceptional,” said the two-time Olympic flag bearer of Chinese delegation. “We come here to show the spirit of our military in a peaceful way. The event gives us an opportunity to exchange and share our values through sport.”

Among the seven bearers in the lighting ceremony, 24-year-old Wang Shuang is the only one without a military background. The winner of Asian Football Women’s Player of the year in 2018 represented athletes from the city of Wuhan.

“I am really glad that my hometown could host such a big sporting event. Tonight I feel like the whole world is watching us,” she said. “As an athlete, I travel a lot. Everytime I come back to Wuhan, I always see tremendous changes in its environment and transportation.”

The 10-day competition in the capital of China’s Hubei province is the first time for the Military World Games to be held outside the military bases, giving local citizens more access to enjoy the military sports festival.

Nie Qiuyu is a young girl, who is fascinated by the military uniforms, and the opening ceremony gave her a rare chance to take a close look of various uniforms from 109 different countries.

“When the Chinese delegation entered, I got chills. I want to express my sincere respect to all the servicemen and women,” Nie said.

“I could say with pride that the whole ceremony is full of highlights. From the first second to the last minute,” the chief director added.

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