The following is issued on behalf of the 2009 East Asian Games (HK) Ltd.:
Stand up those who remember these four gentlemen -- Erdenebaatar Naranchimeg, Gilbert Pascua, Toshihiko Takahashi and Steven Patrick Marie Josee Wong? Ring a bell?
But let's deal with something more important first...
That old adage about books and covers applies here.
The spectacular opening ceremony came and is becoming a memory... now it's time to bring Hong Kong's greatest ever sporting get-together to a close.
We used the wide beyond of Hong Kong's magnificent harbour for that grand opening, so it's appropriate for the finale to be placed under wraps under one roof.
The cavernous hollow of the Hong Kong Coliseum was used for this solemn and necessary end to two weeks of athletic prowess and excellence that brought together more than 2,300 participants and some amazing results.
First it was athletes of the participating teams who marched in, followed by the entry of host officials and the Chief Executive, Mr Donald Tsang, who declared the Fifth East Asian Games officially closed.
Next, representatives of Tianjin, host of the Sixth East Asian Games, enter and receive the East Asian Games Association flag.
The 2009 EAG flag is lowered... the flame is slowly extinguished and all leave the stage for Tianjin to highlight (through a video presentation) what's on offer four years later. Suddenly, the stage reverberates to the high-pitched sound of Beijing opera by a 30-manned robust choir, and colourful acrobats prancing about.
Next it's Hong Kong's turn to entertain... there's nothing like saying adieu with songs. The Hong Kong Chinese Orchestra led the way as four Hong Kong youth singers and four guests singers from China, Japan, Chinese Taipei, Korea, and Hong Kong's own Eason Chan got feet tapping all the way up to the rafters.
And bringing the roof down – two hours later – was the energetic and familiar "You Are the Legend" sung by one and all in the Coliseum.
Many in the Coliseum did not have to remember the words of that beautiful Chinese ballad usually sung at farewells... about "when will we meet again". No worry, it's Tianjin and it's 2013.
But who are the real legends? Forget the habitual winnings of the megastars. In the case of Hong Kong it's the 26 gold medallists and gold medal winning teams who now join Lee Lai-shan and Wong Kam-po in the Hong Kong sporting hall of fame.
Stand up and take a bow... the likes of Ko Lai-chak, Tie Ya Na, Chiu Wing-yin, Kwok Chi-ho, Yip Pui-yin, Leung Ho-tsun, Tang Wang-yip, the 15-red cue sport snooker team, the glorious football team and, of course, Steven Patrick Marie Josee Wong, the 2009 Games first gold medallist... one of the four gentlemen mentioned earlier.
Perhaps they were at tonight's closing... and perhaps not.
It doesn't matter. What is important is that they came to Hong Kong – and in the two weeks – did their very best and now home ...Ulan Bator in the case of Mr Erdenebaatar, Hagatna (Guam) for Mr Pascua, and Narita, Tokyo, for Mr Takahashi.
They are all smiling as they reminisce at Chek Lap Kok airport...
Burly Mr Erdenebaatar and Mr Pascua can still hear the fading echos of that familiar "You Are the Legend" as they fondle their really precious silver and bronze won on the mats of taekwondo. And, of course, that garish ditty "We Like Hong Kong..." blasting out of many a shop in and around their hotels.
And in the case of Mr Takahashi... the gold around his neck came with a "Thanksgiving turkey" (bowling jargon for a perfect 300 game).
He must have phoned home and told them that they can skip the bird for Christmas.
See you at the next Games...
Ends/Sunday, December 13, 2009
The flag of the East Asian Games Association (EAGA) is handed over at the closing ceremony of the 5th East Asian Games held at the Hong Kong Coliseum tonight (December 13). Tianjin will host the 6th East Asian Games.
The Mayor of Tianjin, Mr Huang Xingguo, receives the EAGA Flag from the President of the 5th EAG Planning Committee, the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing. Also attending the ceremony are the flag bearer of the flag handover ceremony, Hong Kong athlete, Miss Chiu Wing-yin (left) and the Chairman of the 5th EAG Planning Committee, Mr Timothy Fok (second from left) who passed the flag to Mr Tsang.
Athletes from the nine countries and regions march in.
Athletes and guests join in the chorus singing of Hong Kong 2009 EAG theme song "You are the Legend" .