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With just 50 days left until the opening ceremony of the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Burma’s President Thein Sein on Sunday inspected preparations at the games’ main sports venue, the 30,000-capacity Wunna Theikdi Stadium in Naypyidaw.
According to Burmese state media, the president said that “the focus of the Burmese state, athletes and citizens now must be to host the SEA Games in a successful way, and in that way create a better future for the country’s youths.” He also urged Burma’s athletes to undertake their best efforts to win as many medals as possible.
During his visit, the president viewed a scale model of the stadium, the construction of the football ground, and the stage for the opening ceremony. He was joined by Vice-President Nyan Tun, who is also Patron of the Leading Committee for Organizing the SEA Games; the chairman of the leading committee, Tint Hsan; and Committee Union Minister Tint Hsan.
The main arenas for the games will be Wunna Theikdi and Zeyathiri stadiums in Naypyidaw. Another feature that has been built is the Sports Village, a miniature town with accommodation, training facilities, money exchangers, entertainment, media centers, and management offices. The new stadiums will both be equipped with a 110-meter LED screen plus six more screens for the opening and closing ceremonies, which will feature performances of traditional Burmese culture.
One of the logistical difficulties Naypyidaw is facing as host is providing accommodation for the one million spectators, athletes, officials, media and tourists that are expected to descend upon the remote Burmese capital during the games which take place from 11 – 22 December.
Over 10,000 athletes are scheduled to compete. According to the director of Hotels and Tourism ministry, Kaung Htut, the country is well prepared enough, with more than 4,000 rooms in Naypyidaw and ten clusters for the athletes that can house up to 640 people each. Several hotels have also been reserved in Mandalay and Ngwe Saung.
“We have arranged accommodation for over 9,500 individuals at hotels and over 3,000 more in the Athletes’ Village – for a total of 12,500 individuals”, Kaung Htut told DVB reporter Win Aung.
A total of 33 sports events will be run, fought, jousted and fought for in Naypyidaw, Rangoon, Mandalay and Ngwe Saung with 4,350 medals up for grabs.
SEA Games Operations Committee Chairman Zaw Winn, who is also Burma’s deputy minister of sports, told Channel News Asia that the Ministry of Home Affairs will make security arrangements for the SEA Games, and that security is currently being increased as the opening ceremony approaches. He said he is not worried about the security of the visitors.
His comments come in the wake of a spate of bombings across the country which left three people dead and several injured.