Swansea's musical stars light up Opening Ceremony

The fourth IPC Athletics European Championships were officially opened on Monday (18 August) at the University of Swansea athletics track with a spectacular display underlining Wales’ rich musical heritage and talent. 18 Aug 2014
Swansea 2014 ambassadors at Opening Ceremony

Swansea 2014 ambassadors are marching into the stadium at the Opening Ceremony of the IPC Athletics European Championships

ⒸSporting Wales

“As a result I am confident that not only will Swansea 2014 be the biggest, but also the best, IPC Athletics European Championships yet.”

From Samba bands to Welsh male choirs, Air Cadets to the city’s very own reality television stars - Swansea left no stone unturned in their quest to deliver an opening ceremony buzzing with excitement and anticipation.

The ceremony began with an impressive performance from the 215 City of Swansea Squadron RAF cadets who entertained the crowds before the all-male Morrison led Wales’ and Great Britain’s national anthems.

A stand packed with invited guests, VIPS, officials and dignitaries including John Griffith A.M. Minister for Natural resources, Culture & Sport in the Welsh Government, and The Lord Mayor of the City and County of Swansea Councillor Ceinwen Thomas then watched as the teams – representing over 550 athletes from 37 participating nations present in Swansea - were led down the track past a long line of cheering and waving volunteers.

With major championship para-athletics returning to Great Britain just two years after the London Games, IPC President Sir Philip Craven praised the efforts of the Swansea 2014 organisers.

“This event builds on the momentum of those fantastic London Games and I am sure that Swansea 2014 will help to raise the profile of para-sport and create further opportunities for sporting success for all,” he said.

“To deliver an event of this magnitude takes a monumental effort and the passion and teamwork that all partners have displayed since bidding for, and winning, this event has been nothing short of immense.

“As a result I am confident that not only will Swansea 2014 be the biggest, but also the best, IPC Athletics European Championships yet.”

Athletes and volunteers took their seats serenaded by Swansea teenager Shaheen Jafargholi, who rose to fame when he appeared on the national television show ‘Britain’s Got Talent’.

Four specially chosen flag bearers – including young Swansea 2014 Ambassador Molly Hopkins – then brought the IPC flag in to the stadium before the athletes, coaches and officials oaths were taken, led by Great Britain’s Paralympic and World discus (F51) champion Josie Pearson.

With the Championships declared officially open, the evening was rounded off with further musical displays, including a local stage school who enacted the work of Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and a jazzed up version of the Welsh National Anthem – Welsh diversity at its best.

The live stream from Swansea 2014, together with videos on demand of individual races, are available to embed on websites in some territories via the IPC’s YouTube channel www.youtube.com/paralympicsporttv. For further information please contact IPC Digital Media Manager Natalia Dannenberg-Spreier ([email protected]).

In addition, HD quality broadcast footage from Swansea 2014 is available from the IPC’s Broadcast Manager Jose Manuel Dominguez ([email protected]).

Daily highlights will be available for digital channels via Omnisport, whilst individual races as video on demand can be embedded via Perform’s e-player