HOSTING the first Asia Pacific Masters Games (APMG) has earned accolades for Penang.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who was elated with the recognition, however, said it was not an easy feat to organise the huge multi-sport Games as the concept was still in its infancy.
“When the Penang government took on the challenge in December 2016, we knew the going would be tough.
“However, we have managed to surpass the targeted figure of 5,000participants.
“I feel proud that there are a total of 5,564 athletes from 64 nations here with us.
“They will compete in 22 types of sports over nine days on the island and mainland.
“Finally, there is a multi-sport Masters event for Asians to call our own with APMG 2018 taking off in Penang and with the next one to be held in Kansai, Japan in 2021,” he said during the opening ceremony of APMG 2018 at the City Stadium in George Town, Penang, on Saturday.
Chow said he was confident that efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle through sports, especially for senior people, would gain steam in Asian countries.
A total of 1,067 officials, over 1,000 volunteers and 1,000 performers were involved in the opening ceremony.
Taking advantage of the extended holidays, more than 10,000 local and out-of-state spectators thronged the stadium to witness the parade by the athletes, performances and lighting of the wheels of fire by former Malaysian stars.
Spectators were also treated to colourful performances titled ‘Colors of Penang’ by more than a thousand performers including school bands, students, a boria troupe and more than 200 performers from the National Department for Culture and Arts.
The Games’ official theme song, ‘Beyond The Games’ sung by popular singer and Penangite Dasha Logan, had everyone grooving to the tune.
Yang di-Pertua Negri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas launched the Games which started on Friday and will end on Sept 15.
The evening ended with a colourful fireworks display which drew thunderous applause from the crowd.
Financial boost for the Games