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China's 11th National Games open in Jinan

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The 11th National Games opened with a grand ceremony in Jinan, the capital city of East China's Shandong Province.

The opening ceremony began at eight o'clock at the Olympic Sports Center.

Among those present were Chinese President Hu Jintao, and Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee.

And the stars of the Games, more than 14-thousand athletes and referees.

They represent 46 delegations from different provincial regions and sports associations from various trades. Among them, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has sent its biggest delegation ever.

The opening procession was followed by an arts performance.

Fireworks are always a key element of Chinese galas. This time, they involved soldiers who formed patterns with their movements.

Many elements of Shandong's landscape and culture were highlighted, including Mount Tai, the sage Confucius, the mouth of the Yellow River, the city that hosted the sailing events of the 2008 Olympics, Qingdao, and the springs and lotus of Jinan.

The most anticipated event was the lighting of the Games' flame.

As the flame was lit, the people of Jinan shone with the joy of hosting the two-week sports gala.

China's 11th National Games open in Jinan
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