Chinese team will not attend Deaflympics opening: organizers
By Deborah Kuo, CNA
August 31, 2009, 4:38 pm TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Chinese team that will participate in the Deaflympics Taipei 2009 is not expected to attend the opening ceremony on Sept. 5, a top organizer of the event said Monday.
The 100-strong Chinese team is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan around 9: 40 p.m. Sept. 5, which means it will miss the opening which is scheduled for 7: 30 p.m. the same day, said Emile C. J. Sheng, chief executive officer of the organizing committee for the Taipei Deaflympics.
The Chinese team to the World Games in Kaohsiung in July also did not attend the opening ceremony.
When asked by reporters at a news conference Monday whether the Chinese team was skipping the Deaflympics opening because of the Dalai Lama's current visit in Taiwan, Sheng said he had no information to that effect.
"I also have no idea whether the Chinese team will take part in the closing ceremony," Sheng added.
However, the 80-member Thousand-hand Bodhisattva Dance Performance Group from China, comprised mainly of hearing impaired young women, will perform at the opening ceremony, he confirmed.
Regarding the order of appearance of the teams at the opening ceremony, Sheng said that France will lead the procession, in keeping with International Committee of Sports for the Deaf (ICSD) protocol.
France was the first nation to sponsor the Deaflympics.
As the host, the Chinese Taipei team will appear last, Sheng added.
According to Stan Lai, ceremony general director, the opening of the Deaflympics will be a "memorable event that will call forth the beauty of the human heart and reach out to the deaf community."
It will be divided into 12 acts, including a performance titled "Impossible Dream" by renowned Taiwanese model Patina Lin.
Completely covered in body paint, Lin will float across a 50-meter projection screen to create the illusion of a goddess walking through air and water. She will also perform along with children from schools for the hearing-impaired, using sign language to express the message of "Power in Me," Lai said.
World-renowned deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie has been invited to perform at the opening ceremony, as well as the local drumming group U-Theatre, and more than 80 children from schools for the hearing-impaired in Taipei and Taichung cities, according to Lai.
The Deaflympics is one of four games regulated by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) . Its events are similar to those of the Olympic Games and are governed by the same rules.
The 21st Summer Deaflympics in Taipei is expected to bring together about 4,000 athletes and sports officials from 101 countries around the world.
The games will feature 20 sports, namely athletics, badminton, basketball, bowling, cycling, football, handball, orienteering, shooting, swimming, table tennis, tennis, volleyball, beach volleyball, water polo, wrestling freestyle, wrestling Greco-Roman, karate, judo and taekwondo, according to the ICSD.