The now famous Telmex Stadium, home of recent and current athletic competition, was ablazed Saturday night with colours, scintillating light, streaming fireworks to the heavens and emotions as the 2011 Parapan American Games were officially opened by Senor Bernado de la Garcia, Director General of the National Council of Physical Culture and Sport in Mexico.
Over one thousand athletes from twenty-three countries of the Americas donned national colours in a parade before a very expressive audience singularly impressed with the Jamaican team which was attired in attractive linen Neru collared black, green and gold shirts ‘topped’ by tall hats, also in the national colours, which were the favourite subject of photographers professionals and amateurs alike.
Flag bearer, Alphanso Cunningham, led the delegation into the stadium, a role which he has performed before on more than one occasion yet for him the journey had not lost its solemnity.
Pride in country and gratitude for the opportunity of representing the homeland were self-evident on the faces of team members and told a special story that was hitherto never written.
The ceremony was spectacular, punctuated with traditional mexican dance and performances of popular music which were accentuated by a very aesthetic stage backdrop the character of which was changed by the engineer’s light as each act was heralded and transitioned.
A flurry of national flags, waving to infectious mexican rhythms and in celebration of the ethos of the games, was scenic.
But it was the entry of the Parapan flame to the grandeur of music and dramatic lighting which virtually transfixed the audience and no doubt for many athletes it was another emotional experience re-lived.
The first Jamaican on the field will be Kevon Reid in the men’s shot put F55 on Monday afternoon and expectations are high for a command performance.
The lights are once more illuminating Guadalajara and, hopefully, will generously distill rays on the land of wood and water in the Caribbean Sea.