By Mark Etheridge
The waiting is over for Team South Africa as the 2009 World Games swing into action with the opening ceremony Thursday night (1am Friday, SA time) in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan.
Teams (90 of them) will enter the brand new “see through” stadium (the first of its kind in the world) in alphabetical order, with hosts Chinese Taipei the final team to join the party.
The stadium is an impressive work of art, comprising mainly steel girders and solar panels and is 100% local with all products re-usabale and produced entirely in Taiwan.
The stadium holds 40,000 people and produces all its own electricity, courtesy of 8,844 solar panels . It only takes six minutes for the stadium’s lighting be powered up.
A total of 3,236 athletes will march through the stadium during the two-hour ceremony to open the games, the four-yearly highlight of all the non-Olympic sports.
Teams will be led by a delegated flag-bearer but it remains a secret as to who will have the honour of holding the SA flag.
Said chef de mission, Jerry Masia: “It hasn’t quite been decided. It has to be a group decision with consultation from various parties, including SASCOC president Gideon Sam and the head of delegation, Les Williams.”
Team South Africa will march in their green and gold tracksuits. Thankfully for them, the design of the stadium allows prevailing wind to cool the stadium down to more bearable conditions.