The XI World Transplant Games opened today,
Monday, September 29, in the heart of Sydney.
while you read! (with
See also Opening Ceremony Social Function
|Beginning around 11:00, all 1,200
transplant recipient athletes marched in a parade from the Overseas Passenger
Terminal on one side of the Circular Quay, through downtown Sydney, along
the harbor to the steps of the Sydney Opera House.
|The parade was led by a police
escort and the Royal Australian Navy Swing Band. Banners sporting
the blue, yellow, and red Games logo lined the harbor.
The combination of the marching music, the hundreds
of athletes in colorful uniforms singing and chanting drew crowds of observers
who cheered the passing contingents, each of which was preceded by a Boy
Scout or Girl Guide carrying a sign with that country's name.
There, under a beautiful blue sky and surrounded
by beautiful views of the Sydney Harbor, each team was introduced
and officially welcomed to Australia and to the Games. Some teams
(French, Germans, and British) announced their arrival at the Opera
House by singing their national anthem; the British were met with
wild cheers and all waved their straw hats. Although each
team was cheered, the one-person teams (Indonesia, Iran, Kenya,
and Poland) were greeted with cheers that surely made them feel
part of the family.
The attendees gathered at the Opera House included
many dignitaries, Games officials, and supporters of the Games. The
mood was incredibly festive; having "snatched life from the jaws of death,"
this group was very intent on celebrating!
||Aboriginal dancers with white-paint
decorations welcomed us, as did the beautiful voice of Julie Anthony (professional
Mark Cocks reminded us that this day was two years,
hundreds of meetings, and thousands of phone calls and faxes in the making.
He exclaimed, "What a day!"
Order of Proceedings
Master of Ceremonies, Mr. Alan Jones AM
|Maurice Slapak told us that the rate for organ
donation is only 11 per million in Austalia, while Spain has the highest
donation rate, at 55 per million: "Donation requires courage in the
face of tragedy." For the first time, there are teams from Brazil,
Kuwait, Korea, Iran, China and Hong Kong, Pakistan, Viet Nam, and Slovenia,
as well as 75 children.
The Governor General told us that there are currently
3,000 Australians awaiting a transplant, and that donor families ensure
that "great good comes out of great loss."
Most memorable from the ceremony (full program
below) were the moments when the Games' purpose was highlighted:
1) to demonstrate that transplant recipients can return to a full and healthy
life, 2) to promote awareness of the need for donation, and 3) to express
gratitude to donor families, whose gifts made the Games possible.
Welcome to the Governor General and Lady Deane
Presentation of Competitors
"Advance Australia Fair," Julie Anthony
Arrival of the Australian Flag
"Welcome" Gurriwal (aboriginal dance accompanied
by didgeridoo music)
Mr. Mark Cocks, Executive Director, World Transplant
The Honorable Brian Langton M.P., Minister for
Prof. Maurice Slapak, President, World Transplant
His Excellency, the Honorable Sir William Deane,
AC, KBE (Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia)
"The Oath of Fair Play" was read by Mr. Warwick
Duncan (President, Australian Transplant Sports Association
Bree Robertson, gymnast, performed to the music "Power
of the Dream"
NSW Gymnastics Association Junior Elite Program
performed tumbling to the music "Cry of the Celtics"
Bryon Watson sang "The Impossible Dream"
Anita Spring sang "Sail Down to Australia"
The Royal Australian Navy Swing Band played "Waltzing
Kara Kasil, Torres Strait Islanders, danced "Serri
Dance and Silent Dance"
Felicity sang "I Am Australian"
Melinda Schneider sang "Wings On Your Dreams"
delivered the Donor Family Address
David Riddout sang "Wonderful World"
Julie Anthony sang "This is the Moment"