Competition kick off for the 5th Commonwealth Youth Games in Samoa

Fireworks at the opening of the 5th Commonwealth Youth Games at Apia Park last Saturday evening

BY Lagi Keresoma

APIA, SAMOA: MONDAY 07 SEPTEMBER 2015: Competition has kicked off with Lawn Bowls and Swimming for the 5th Commonwealth Youth Games 2015 in Apia following an impressive cultural opening and declaration by the Head of State, His Highness Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi last Saturday night at the Apia Park.

The two hour long ceremony started with a prayer service said by Reverend Nuuausala Siaosi of the Apia Protestant Church then followed by the teams parade led by the previous host country Isle of Man.

Samoa’s flag bearer and swimming representative Bandon Schuster read out the athletes oath on behalf of all athletes, while Ms Kerrimoana Punivalu declared the oath of all technical officials who will officiate the games.

His Higness the Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and the CYG President Ms. Louise  Martin

His Highness the Head of State, Tui Atua Tupua Tamasese Efi and the CYG President Ms. Louise Martin at the Games opening

The parade was followed by the raising of the Samoan and Commonwealth Youth Games flags.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Dr. Sailele Malielegaoi then welcomed all athletes, officials, families and all Commonwealth states. He emphasized the importance of such  games as an initiative for the development of future leaders.

Tuilaepa believes such occasion will give the athletes an opportunity to understand and respect  each other.

CYG President Ms. Louise  Martin also addressed the gathering and wished the games a successful competition. She also touched on the many youths around the world that could not get the opportunity to be part of such a prestigious occasion.

8 year old fire dancer with his trauning stick before the professional ones came on to light up the stage at the opening ceremony Photo: Getty Images

8 year old fire dancer with his training stick before the professional ones came on to light up the stage at the opening ceremony Photo: Getty Images

The cultural opening displayed the talent and contribution of  2,000 students from 16 schools around Samoa under the leadership of choreographer Tuilagi Alan Alo. The energetic and intensive display of exuberance and energy told the mythology of the Samoan creation by Tagaloalagi who resided in the ninth heaven up to the arrival of Christianity that has had a major impact on the country’s spiritual, economic and social life.

The contemporary depiction tells the story of Samoa’s traditional beliefs in the creation by Tagaloalagi until Christianity changed people’s perception and Samoa’s transition to a leading and vibrant democratic island nation in the Pacific region.

All songs and music for the opening and the Theme Song were performed by a students choir under the guidance of well known Samoan composer Tuilagi Igelese Ete whose choral work was featured in the soundtrack of the Lord of the Rings film.

The cultural opening capped off with an impressive display of firedancing that featured an 8 year old going through the basics before 10 professional dancers displayed their skills depicting the image of a human being centered around a ball of fire as the image of life.

109 medals are up for grabs with 900 athletes competing from 66 Commonwealth nations who were former colonies of the United Kingdom.

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