Children, Sun And Sea!
NICOSIA, 1 June 2009 -
Once more, Cyprus made
history in the Games of the Small States of Europe.
Keeping its promise to raise the bar in all aspects of
the competition, the organizers started the XIII GSSE
with a great Opening Ceremony, at the GSP Sports
Complex, here, Monday evening.
The sun and sea of
Cyprus were the focal points at the ceremony, which was
enriched with the musical tradition of the country.
Children played a vital role at the event. Eleven
hundred from the specialized 'Sport
programme, aged 5-12, opened the
Ceremony. With music from the album 'On the Dear Land'
of composer Vasos Argyrides (including arrangements on
traditional music of Cyprus played by the '21st
Century Orchestra' of Moscow), 450 children dressed in
blue entered the field, symbolising the Sea.
They took up all the length
of the field to form an image of water. Then, 700 more
children entered the Stadium dressed in yellow,
representing the sun, and took position behind the 'sea'
over the whole length of the Stadium. Spotlights fell on
the children as they then sang 'My Little Bright
Moon'--a traditional Greek nursery rhyme, referring to
the secret underground schools operating during Ottoman
occupation and empasising on the thirst for knowledge by
the youth of the time--in Greek, English, French and
'My Little Bright Moon' was
then sang again by a large children's choir of the
Cultural Club 'Diastasis', together with the Limassol
Grammar School Choir. Following was a dance, in front of
the Central Grandstand, with the 12 dancers using large
plastic balls to perform.
After the dance, it was
time for Mario Frangoulis. The world-renowned Greek
tenor sang 'The Love of Fire'. After that, 30 dancers
entered the field for another great performance, where
they held and waved fabrics on poles, like flags.
Following was song
'Response' by Michalis Hadjimichail, with his lute and
then the 'Echodrasi' group took the stage on a special
podium, presenting an impressive program.
And them, the children and
Mario Frangoulis again. The Stadium was floodlit and 250
children, forming eight circles, performed traditional
Cypriot dances. Following that very exciting performance
was again the famous tenor, performing 'Voyage to the
Horizon', the official song (composer: Vasos Argyridis;
lyrics: Babis Anayiotos) of the XIII Games of the Small
States of Europe and concluding the artistic part of the
Part II: "A Ceremony of Youth"
delegations of the eight participating nations entered
the Stadium, preceded by 600 children, dressed in yellow
and holding white and green balloons, representing the
colours of the Flag of Cyprus. Among the VIP’s attending
were the President of the Republic of Cyprus and other
Heads of State of the participating countries.
Delegations fell in position, as the President of the
XIII GSSE Organizing Committee and President of the
Cyprus Olympic Committee, Ouranios Ioannides, was the
first to address the athletes.
Ioannidis emphasized the need for a competition that
will enhance intercultural relationships among athletes
and fans of participating countries, sending messages of
civilization, coexistence, appreciation and a common
goal for a brighter future, quality of life, freedom,
justice and friendship, calling the Games a 'Ceremony of
Following was an address by the President of the
European Olympic Committe, Mr Patrick Hickey, who
expressed his certainty for a fantastic event "in this
marvellous island, with such a rich heritage. These
Games are important, because they emphasize the Olympic
Spirit of the Athletes," said Mr. Hickey.
Accompanied by music from the Percussion Group “Echodrasi”,
the Flag of the Games entered the field, carried by
champions in the 12 sports that will be held at the
Following was the oath of athletes, announced by
gymnastics champion Irodotos Giorgallas. The oath of the
judges was announced by Panayiotis Simeou.
great moment had arrived, as the President of the
Republic of Cyprus Mr Dimitris Christofias went to the
podium for the following words: "Let the Games
first torch bearer to carry the Flame to the Stadium was
the captain of the Basketball National Team of Cyprus
and President of the Union of Cypriot Athletes,
Panayiotis Trisokkas. Trisokkas delivered the Flame to
Swimming champion Anna Stylianou, who won the most
medals (4 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) at the GSSE of
Monaco. Anna then delivered the Flame to the Cyprus
Volleyball National Team captain Panos Eracleous, who
has participated at eight Games of the Small States of
last torch bearer, who lit the altar, was Athletics
champion Antri Sialou, who had participated at the last
Games in Cyprus, in 1989.
Finally, 'Echodrasi' performed a five-minute
demonstration of percussion instruments, just before
Mario Frangoulis and his orchestra took over again for a
40-minute concert, accompanied by young new artist
Yiorgos Perris--a grand finale to what is expected to be
the greatest GSSE week in history.