Sukma XVIII opening ceremony a celebration of unity in diversity

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The opening ceremony was a vision of colour and culture. – Photo by Muhammad Rais Sanusi.

KUCHING: It was an exciting evening for over 10,000 people who thronged the Sarawak Stadium for the grand opening ceremony of Sukma XVIII on July 23.

Although Sukma already started on July 19, this ceremony marks the official opening of the 18th Malaysian Games which also happens to be the second time that Sarawak is hosting the games since 1990.

The show started at 8pm with inspirational performances by Miss World Malaysia 2014 Dewi Liana Seriestha and award-winning Sarawakian singer Bob Yusof, followed by singing performances from Ministry of Social Development and Urbanisation (KPSU) cultural singers.

Cheers from the crowd made the event hosted by comedian Iwan Dasri even merrier.

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Guests of honour (from left) Adenan, Taib, Ragad, Khairy and Jamilah waving to the audience after arriving at the stadium.

By 8.40pm, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem and Datin Patinggi Datuk Jamilah Anu arrived at the venue, followed shortly by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and Toh Puan Datuk Seri Ragad Kurdi Taib to the cheers of the crowd.

The chief minister encouraged all athletes to do their best in order to be chosen to represent the country.

“All of you are here you are the best, strongest, fastest from your states, do your best to showcase you are able to represent Malaysia.”

Students from various schools across the state and cultural dancers from Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism entertained with a performance at 9pm.

The evening continued with the marching of contingents that started with Sukma XVIII volunteers and students of Matang Vocational College, followed by Brunei Darussalam (59 athletes), Johor (408), Kedah (358), Kelantan (220), Melaka (307), Negeri Sembilan (330), Pahang (412), Pulau Pinang (380), Perak (498), Perlis (253), Sabah (431), Selangor (507), Terengganu (485), Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur (478), Sarawak (544). With a total of 5,670 athletes competing in Sukma XVIII, Sarawak is being represented by the most athletes.

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The Sarawak contingent being led by Sarawak chef-de-mission Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman (7th left).

In his opening speech, Federal Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin congratulated Adenan on behalf of the federal government for a job well done in the games and in Sarawak.

“With the theme ‘Unity in Diversity’, once again Sarawak has shown what it is like to be a Malaysian,” he said, complimenting Sarawak for its state-of-the-art facilities.

“We want to see the young athletes in Sukma to represent Malaysia in the future. Let us use Sukma as a platform to give birth to new stars in sports.”

Taib declared Sukma XVIII open after 18 of Sarawak’s sporting icons – Mat Jedi Bueng, Johar Nor, Jessica Law Kiu Ee, Ramli Ahmad, Asp. Wong Tee Kui, Kapten Sapok Biki, Edmund Yeo, Jonathan Ding Sagan, Zainuddin Sidi, Rosatimah Mohamad, Fazilla Sylvester Silin, Kimbeley Yap Fui Li, Mohd Azlan Iskandar, Daniel Henry Bego, Brian Nickson Lomas, Assri Azri Marzuku, walked up to a platform led by Watson Nyambek and Tania Bugo to place the baton on a pedestal.

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Swimming legend Tania Bugo (second right) and Flying Dayak Watson Nyambek (right) leading  Sarawak’s sporting icons during part of the ceremony declaring the games officially open.

The Sukma flag was raised by a band of officers from the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) who were also joined by 10 members of the Royal Malaysian Navy (TLDM).

After another performance by Akademi Fantasia contestant Bob Yusof, 15 athletes from their respective states appeared and declared their vows of sportsmanship during Sukma XVIII.

Sukma XVIII was then made official with a ‘Unity in Diversity’-themed dance performance by students from various schools around Kuching and a fireworks display.

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The opening ceremony saw at least 3,000 performers giving their all during the opening ceremony.

The remarkable event marks the start of Sukma XVIII that is hoped to become a great success especially for Sarawakians.

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Officers from TLDM marching with the Sukma flag.

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Khairy greeting Taib upon his arrival to the stadium.


The guests of honour arriving to the stadium in golf carts.


Athletes waiting for the grand ceremony to begin.


Athletes mingling before the grand ceremony begins.

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Sarawak’s 18 sporting icons at the end of their baton run. Tania and Watson hold the baton before placing it on the pedestal as Taib declares the games officially open.


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