Scaled-down closing ceremony aims for big emotional statement

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 September, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 September, 2008, 12:00am

Tonight's closing ceremony for the Beijing Paralympics will feature a fraction of the cast of thousands mobilised for the Olympic Games finale, but organisers promise the event at the National Stadium will be just as touching.

Chen Weiya , assistant director for the opening and closing ceremonies, was quoted as saying: 'Although we are still forbidden to reveal the name [of each act of the performance] and the specific content, you can trust that we will find an ingenious angle for expressing the conviviality, sincerity and friendship suited to the closing ceremony.

'The closing ceremony for the Paralympics should be worthy of people's anticipation,' the Hangzhou -based Du Shi Kuai Bao reported him saying.

Mainland media said the two-hour ceremony would depict the unique features of Beijing, pay homage to the power of life and nature, and encourage interaction between performers and spectators.

The event's chief director, Zhang Jigang , said the ceremony's major scenarios would be largely the same as for the opening ceremony, but 'it will make people feel more warm-hearted, natural, fresh and crisp'.

Echoing the Olympics' closing theme song, Hard to Say Goodbye, the keynote song for the Paralympics' closing is One More Glimpse and will be sung by People's Liberation Army singer Tan Jing , Singaporean pop star Stefanie Sun and Hong Kong Canto-pop stars Karen Mok Man-wai and Joey Yung Cho-yee.

The two songs were prepared for the two closing ceremonies to leave the impression of a 'hard-to-forget' Olympics and Paralympics in Beijing, mainland media reported.

As was the case with the Olympics finale, the next host city, London, will have eight minutes to express its hopes for the 2012 Paralympics.

'The handover performance highlights the connection between culture and sport,' said Bill Morris, the London organising committee's (Locog) director of culture, ceremonies and education, who oversaw the segment at the Olympics closing ceremony. Locog chairman and former Olympian Sebastian Coe praised the historic, no-expense-spared 2008 Olympics and Paralympics and said London would emulate Beijing's 'spectacular Games'.

Instead of English soccer star David Beckham, tonight's performance will feature British wheelchair basketball player Ade Adepitan. Olympics minister Tessa Jowell and London Mayor Boris Johnson have returned to fetch the Paralympics flag.