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2008 Olympic Games Begin in Beijing


China opened the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing with a massive display of fireworks and a lavish show involving thousands of performers at its new National Stadium. Some 91-thousand people attended Friday's celebration, filling China's eye-catching "Birds Nest" stadium.

The Opening Ceremony began with a barrage of thousands of fireworks and drew to a close with Chinese President Hu Jintao declaring the Olympic Games open, followed by the lighting of a cauldron with a flame brought from Greece. Two thousand and eight drummers filled the stadium with sound and thousands participated in a show that celebrated some of China's great inventions - the compass and gunpowder - and its ancient arts.

Three hours later, the parade of athletes concluded with Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming leading China's delegation into the stadium. Athletes from a record number of 204 nations are attending the Games. Li Ning, a triple gold medallist in gymnastics at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, was lifted high into the air at the stadium to light the Olympic cauldron. More than 80 world leaders attended today's ceremony on a hot, humid night in the hazy Chinese capital.

Roquia Haider spoke to a Bangladeshi sports journalist Pantha Rahman, who is covering the Olympics for Channel I - TV. He described the opening ceremony from the scene and spoke about the facilities for the international media.

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