Colorful ceremony shines Daegu
By Yoon Chul
DAEGU ― In a mix of the traditional and high-tech, the opening ceremony of the 13th IAAF World Championships took place Saturday to a full Daegu Stadium.
Under the slogan “Sprint Together for Tomorrow,” the top event by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will run through Sept. 4.
With President Lee Myung-bak, IAAF President Lamine Diack, International Olympic Committee President Jacques and others VIPS in attendance, the rhythmical sounds of “dadeumi,” or Korean wooden sticks, beating on cloth-covered stone blocks started off the proceedings.
The 75-minute ceremony was comprised of five parts: “moeum” (gathering), “dadeum” (preparing), “kkaeum” (awakening), “dotum” (sprint), and “tteuium” (dreams come true).
Diack said he was looking forward to a "thrilling, top-class competition" in Daegu.
"Significantly, the IAAF World Championships will be the first IAAF World Championships to feature a new competition timetable, with its compact and exciting format designed to attract new legions of athletics fans," he said.
Following Diack’s speech, President Lee then declared the opening of the world championships.
Daegu Mayor Kim Bum-il, a co-chair of the organizing committee asked everyone to enjoy the festivities with a single heart.
One of the highlights of the ceremony was a commemorative video of the late Korean marathon hero Sohn Kee-chung was played. Sohn won the gold medal at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, representing Japan who had colonized Korea at that time.
At the end, long-time favorite local singer In Soon-i and Huh Gak, winner of the popular program “Super Star K2” sang the event’s theme song “Let’s Go Together” coupled with an impressive firework display. Soprano Jo Su-mi sang to uplift the spectators’ hearts.
Before the opening ceremony, numerous spectators from around the world were seen taking part in the many welcoming events.
Since Helsinki of Finland hosted the first world championships in 1983, Japan has been the only Asian host, in Tokyo in 1991 and Osaka in 2007.