THE entire city of Vientiane is abuzz with excitement ahead of the 25th SEA Games opening ceremony at the National Stadium today.
It is the first time that Laos are hosting the biennial Games and the Vientiane folks are looking forward to being part of the extravagant opening ceremony lined up at the 20,000-capacity stadium.
Even a dress rehearsal for the opening held on Monday night attracted a bumper crowd, with thousands cramming into the stadium to catch a glimpse of the proceedings.
Reports in the Laos media also noted that steep ticket prices for the opening ceremony failed to deter the locals from snapping up the tickets put on sale.
Less than 1,000 unsold tickets were still left yesterday afternoon and the remaining tickets are expected to be snapped up this morning.
Tickets for the opening ceremony are priced at 200,000 kip (RM80), 300,000 kip (RM120), 400,000 kip (RM160) and 500,000 kip (RM200).
Thousands of school and university students will take part in the lavish and well-planned four-hour programme, which starts at 5pm local time (6pm in Malaysia).
Cultural performances of Laos and the other 10 participating countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste and Vietnam – will be highlighted during the event.
Although 347 athletes will represent Malaysia in the Games, less than half will take part in the opening ceremony’s march-past. The bulk of the contingent has yet to arrive in Vientiane and a large number is expected to fly in tomorrow.
Diver Yeoh Ken Nee is the country’s flag-bearer for the opening ceremony.