LONDON, July 28: Athletics and Judo missed the colourful opening ceremony but the rest of the athletes in the 42-strong Hong Kong contingent enjoyed a fun-filled show which delegation head Vivien C.C. LAU described as “uniquely British”.
An extraordinary spectacle which included James Bond, Mr Bean and Beatle Sir Paul McCartney, was enjoyed by Hong Kong’s athletes who mingle freely with fellow-competitors from the other 203 nations who had turned up for the 30th Olympic Games.
“It was very British, very funny and quite unique,” said LAU, chef de mission of the Hong Kong delegation who marched out smartly in the white blazers to be greeted by Mr. Timothy T.T. FOK , the President of Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong, China who was seated amongst the VVIPs.
“The athletes enjoyed it very much because the atmosphere was quite casual and comfortable. Once we entered the stadium, they could freely mix with other athletes,” LAU said.
The Opening ceremony which began with scenes of English countryside complete with live animals ended in McCartney singing ‘Hey Jude’. The highlight of the show was a scene shot where the Queen is seen greeting actor Daniel Craig at Buckingham Palace: “Good Evening Mr. Bond” before both leave on a helicopter.
The helicopter then hovers over the stadium and the 80,000 spectators at the stadium plus a billion more watching all over the world see the Queen – a stunt double - jump off followed by Bond. The next moment, the Queen, accompanied by her husband Prince Phillip enters the Royal Box. It was probably the grandest of entries by a head of state at an Olympics and enjoyed by the Hong Kong athletes.
“Beijing, four years ago was grand but very formal. London was quite relaxed. You really can’t compare different opening ceremonies from previous Olympics. I remember Athens was full of Greek mythology. Everyone Games has its own style and each is unique,” LAU added.
Veteran rider WONG Kam-po, who is appearing in his fifth Olympics – a Hong Kong record – wasn’t part of the contingent at the opening ceremony as he had to take part in the road race the following morning.
The squad was led out to resounding cheers by Kam-po’s teammate Sarah LEE Wai-sze who proudly carried the Bauhinia flag for the first time.
“Everyone was here other than athletes from the athletic and judo squad who are still not in London. They all enjoyed it for it was quite memorable,” LAU added.