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2003 / NO.1
2003 / NO.1
Inauguration of the Macao Olympic Aquatic Center

On March 28, 2003, Mr. Ho Hau Wah, Chief Executive of the Macao SAR Government, presided over the inauguration of the Macao Olympic Aquatic Center. The Macao Olympic Aquatic Center, one of a group of sport facilities being constructed for the 4th East Asian Games, is the first to be completed and put to use.

The inauguration began promptly at 18:00 with Domingos Lam, Bishop of Macao, and Sek Kei Sau, Master of the Temple Kun lam, praying for blessings in Catholic and Buddhist rituals respectively. Blessings were followed by a colorful Chinese lion dance during which, in keeping with the purpose of this inaugural event, the lion was “brought to life.” Those presiding over this significant and traditional Chinese ceremony were: Mr. Ho Hau Wah, Chief Executive of the Macao SAR; Mr. Wang Jinxiang, Head of the Central Government’s Liaison Office (Macao SAR); Mr. Wan Yongxiang, Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in Macao SAR; Mr. Chui Sai On, Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture; Mr. Ao Man Long, Secretary for Transport and Public Works; Mr. Cheong U, Commissioner of the Commission against Corruption; Mr. Lau Cheok Va, Vice-President of the Legislative Assembly; Mr. Manuel Silvèrio, Chairman of the Macao 4th East Asian Games Organising Committee; Mr. Timothy Fok, Vice-President of the Olympic Council of Asia; Mr. Vong Iao Lek, Acting President of the Macao Sport Development Board; Mr. Jaime Carion, Director of the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau; Mr. Laam Wah Ying, President of the Macao Olympic Committee; Mr. Lau Hin Chun, President of the Macao Swimming Association; Mr. Li Hua, Vice-President of the Swimming Federation of the People’s Republic of China; Mr. Wong Chi Keung, President of Mei Cheong Construction Co., Ltd.; Mr. Wu Yuejun, Director General of SCG (HK) & Shanghai Construction Group (Macao) Limited and Mr. Allen Lau, director of the Macao 4th East Asian Games Organising Committee and the director of the Aquatic Center.

After Mr. Ho Hau Wah, Chief Executive of the Macao SAR, announced the inauguration of the center, Mr. Manuel Silvèrio, Chairman of the Macao 4th East Asian Games Organizing Committee, made a speech in which he expressed his thanks to Mr. Ho Hao Wah for his unflagging support throughout the construction of the center. Mr. Silvèrio also expressed his expectations that the opening of the center would enable Macao to host major international swimming events and further promote sport development efforts in Macao.

After Silvèrio’s speech, there were a number of impressive celebratory performances. These included a laser-music performance, an unusual performance by musicians from the Macao Orchestra (Macao Cultural Institute) stationed on the diving platforms, and a performance by native-born Maria Cordero, who treated the audience to a number of famous traditional songs.

Innovative Swimming Competitions
The Chinese national swimming team, diving team and synchronized swim team were invited to the inauguration of the center and became the focus of the aquatic performances. Friendly competitions were held between the Macao team and the Chinese national team. Four Macao teams swam 4 X 50-meter medley relays side-by-side with Chinese national team members (Wu Peng, Qi Hui, Zhan Shu and Luo Xuejuan), who each swam an individual 200-meter medley against their Macao competitors. The 4 Macao teams “beat” the national team swimmers with Lei Chi Lon, Ma Chan Wai, Lou Keng Ip and Lao Kuan Fong from Macao’s Team A achieving the best time of 1:52:13. Results of Team B and Team C were 1:59:75 and 2:1:06, respectively. Friendship expressed during the competition was greeted by warm applause from the audience.

Brilliant Diving by Tian Liang and Guo Jingjing
The Chinese National Diving Team members are well-known and appreciated by the residents of Macao. On the evening of the inauguration, a number of very difficult dives were beautifully executed, impressing all in the audience. Diving stars Tian Liang and Guo Jingjing, in particular, were greeted with enthusiastic applause from supporters and fans.

The newly-formed Macao Diving Team also performed. Various young divers from the Macao team demonstrated platform and springboard dives from various heights. Their performances were also warmly received by appreciative Macao residents.

Elegant Water Ballet
The next treat for the audience was synchronized swimming, with performances by Chan Ian Chi and Sin Wan I of the Macao Synchronized Swimming Team bringing pride to Macao residents. In addition, Zhang Xiaohuan and Gu Beibei of the Chinese national synchronized swim team and silver medallists at the Asian Games gave a lovely performance entitled “Summer Night.” Ten other athletes from the national synchronized swim team performed “Spirit of Snow Land,” “By the Peacock Spring,” and “Lotus Flowers Appearing Above Water.”

The natatorium is already booked for a number of swimming competitions. As early as the day following its inauguration, March 29, the Swimming Association of Macao hosted the Macao Age Group Swimming Championship. In August, the 3rd AASF Asian Age Group Championship will be held here, the first international competition of its kind ever held in Macao.