Musical spectacular to open first-ever Asia Pacific Special Olympics

Updated: 2013-06-19 16:28


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SYDNEY - Creative celebrations are planned for the opening ceremony of the inaugural Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games in December, with well-known Australian performers to take the stage in a two-hour spectacular of music, dance, theatre, lights and fireworks.

Details of the gala event, planned for Dec 1, 2013 at the 30,000-seater Hunter Stadium in Newcastle  were released on Wednesday.

Aussie singers Anthony Callea, Marcia Hines and Marina Prior are among the line-up of entertainers, which also features Special Olympics dancers, a parade of the 2,500 athletes from the 32 competing nations, and the lighting of the Games cauldron as the Torch Run reaches the Stadium.

The gala ceremony will open the first-ever Special Olympics 2013 Asia Pacific Games for athletes with an intellectual disability. The 2,500 athletes will take part in nine sports across seven venues in the Newcastle-Hunter region on Australia's east coast from Nov 30 to Dec 7, 2013.

Australian singer-songwriter Brooke McClymont, who will also be performing at the opening, on Wednesday praised the courage of the athletes.

"We're really looking forward to participating in the Opening Ceremony and seeing athletes from around the world come together in our home country, showing their courageous spirit and amazing abilities in sport is something not to be missed," said McClymont.

"This is a great event for the public to be part of - kick- start the week with the opening ceremony where live music and dance will create an uplifting and positive atmosphere, then go along to watch the sport and support the athletes or simply celebrate the joy of sport," she added.

John Foreman, an Australian musician and television personality who himself grew up in Newcastle, has been appointed as the Opening Ceremony's Creative Director.

"The Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games Opening Ceremony will be a defining moment in the history of Newcastle," Foreman said.

"I loved growing up here, so I'm especially proud to be a part of this major event - the Opening Ceremony will be showcase for the beautiful, creative and enterprising city that Newcastle has become," he added.

The games are expected to bring a 20 million AU dollars ($18.94 million) boost to the local economy, with opportunities for local businesses and communities to get involved.

"With 164 days to go until the Games begin, we're in great shape to make this event Newcastle's time to shine," said Project Director Chris Heverin.

"The Opening Ceremony creative development is already finalized and we'll be announcing more exciting performers soon," he added.