The Jakarta Post
Malaysia officially opened the 29th edition of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday evening in a spectacular opening ceremony, cheered on by thousands of enthusiastic supporters from the 11 participating countries.
The 11 participating countries are: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Vietnam.
Chief organizer Brig. Gen. Khairy Jamaludin, who is also Malaysia’s Youth and Sports Minister, said he expected the games to play a role in creating a stronger bond among the region's countries.
“We are now collecting the experience of our people so we can forge stronger bonds together. We are not only competing in this event, but also sharing,” Jamaludin said in his speech, which prompted loud cheering from the stands at Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
Spectators were entertained by a dynamic, animated showcase with colorful lighting from the outset of the ceremony, which also saw the debut appearance of the 2017 SEA Games’ mascot, "Rimau", representing a Malayan tiger. “Rimau” also symbolizes respect, integrity, agility, attitude and unity.
The Indonesian delegation, among the largest with 533 athletes as well as 200 officials and coaches, greeted the crowd during the opening parade. I Gede Siman Sudartawa was the flag bearer, while Aziz Syamsuddin was the Chef-de-Mission.
Malaysian young athlete Nur Dhabitah Sabri, who won a bronze medal in synchronized swimming, lit the torch to officially open the regional sporting event.
Among the notable attendees were Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak and Sultan Muhammad V.