As the sky darkens after sunset, all eyes are set upon the stage in the center of the field at the Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. Thousands of performers clad in elaborately-designed costumes – gloriously illuminated by rays of light from multiple projectors positioned strategically around the stadium – would go on to enthrall the spectators during the opening ceremony of the Lusofonia Games 2014, the largest sporting event ever held in Goa, India.
Widely referred to as the Portuguese version of the British Commonwealth Games, the 12-day tournament was organized by the Association of the Portuguese Speaking Olympic Committee (ACOLOP). It involved athletes and officials from Portuguese-speaking countries such as Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Macau (China), Mozambique, Portugal and Sao Tome and Principe. Equatorial Guinea, India and Sri Lanka are associate members of the Games.
The opening ceremony, attended by over 22,000 spectators, included a spellbinding projection mapping show and performances of over 1,200 artistes who presented folk dance from Goa and other parts of India. Local school children and groups of artistes from various parts of the country also partook in the scintillating extravaganza and put on a splendid representative display that encompassed the spirit of ‘unity’ and ‘pride’, as well as the rich history and heritage of Indian and Goan culture.