Team Singapore athletes, led by swimmer Yip Pin Xiu, proudly took part in a beautiful Opening Ceremony to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games at a packed Maracanã stadium on Wednesday.
The Gold medallist in the 2008 Paralympics, Pin Xiu, is hoping for more success in this Games and she beamed with excitement as she held aloft the Republic's flag.
TeamSG swimmer and flag bearer Yip Pin Xiu (center) leading the Singapore contingent at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony. Photo: Sport Singapore
The Maracanã is one of the most famous stadiums in the world and the ceremony lived up to the challenge of providing a moving spectacle to an appreciative audience on Brazil’s Independence Day.
It began with a film of International Paralympic Committee president Sir Philip Craven’s journey from Stoke Mandeville, the historic home of para-sports in Great Britain, across to Brazil and through the South American country to Rio.
Then the stadium gasped as extreme wheelchair athlete, Aaron Fotheringham (or Wheelz as he is better known) of the United States, powered down a “Mega Ramp" from the top of the tribune and flew through the air before landing safely in an inflatable landing area.
Extreme wheelchair athlete, Aaron Fotheringham (nicknamed Wheelz) performing at the Opening Ceremony in Maracanã Stadium. Photo: Sport Singapore
The spectacle turned to dance, movement and music, capturing both the colourful and expressive culture of the host nation along with the courage, skill and innovation of para-sports.
Piano maestro João Carlos Martins delivered a solo version of the Brazilian national anthem with the ‘beach scene’ below him, transforming into the nation’s flag as participants raised their yellow, green and blue umbrellas.
That perfectly set up the ‘parade of nations’ as athletes from across the globe joyfully entered the arena to the cheers of the fans.
A giant beating heart on the field, made up of jigsaw puzzle pieces representing each of the national delegations, symbolised the emotion of the occasion.
TeamSG athletes were all smiles as they entered the arena. Photo: Sport Singapore
“History will be made by the athletes, the volunteers and you the spectators,” said Rio Organising Committee president Carlos Arthur Nuzman.
“Over the next 12 days through the performances of Paralympians, you will see the true meaning of sport and the true definition of ability,” said Craven.
"Through your performances, tell your story, a narrative of inclusion, a tale of empowerment and a legend that hope will always conquer fear,” he told the athletes.
Team Singapore competitors in Rio are swimmers Theresa Goh and Yip Pin Xiu, boccia athletes Nurulasyiqah Binte Mohammad Taha and Toh Sze Ning, equestrians Laurentia Tan, Maximillian Tan and Gemma Rose Foo, sailors Jovin Tan and Yap Qian Yin and late additions archer Nur Syahidah Binte Alim, wheelchair racer Norsilawati Binte Sa’at, long jumper Suhairi Bin Suhani as well as Muhammad Diroy Bin Noordin who will be competing in javelin and shot put events.
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