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China: Around The Nation

Olympic blunder sees ring go missing at opening ceremony for China’s National Games

Organisers apologise after one of the five rings fails to light up on cue in repeat of notorious blunder at start of Russia’s Winter Games

PUBLISHED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 1:47pm
UPDATED : Monday, 28 August, 2017, 2:12pm

Organisers of China’s National Games opening ceremony have apologised after one of the five Olympic rings failed to light up as planned.

The four-yearly event, which the national Olympic committee said was modelled on the Games, is being held in Tianjin.

Athletes from across China, including Hong Kong, will compete over the next two weeks.

During the opening ceremony on Sunday evening, five rings were suspended from the roof of the stadium, but only four were illuminated.

The fifth one was lit up by fireworks for a few seconds, before fading again.

A director and a producer bowed in apology at a news conference afterwards, calling the missing ring “a very big regret”, The Beijing News reported on Monday.

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The producer said the fifth ring could not be illuminated because the heavy rain triggered a short-circuit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor were both present at the ceremony, as was Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee.

The Chinese government exerts tight control over major public events to avoid unscripted mishaps such as this, but many internet users seemed understanding about the blip.

The incident also reminded many of the 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Sochi, Russia, when one of the five rings failed to open.

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“We can make it up at the closing ceremony, just like what happened in Sochi,” a commentor said on Weibo.

“There was nothing embarrassing,” a Tianjin-based user said. “The organisers have tried their best.”