DOHA, Dec 15 - The 15th Asian Games closed in spectacular fashion on Friday
in a multi-million dollar arabesque fantasy, with swashbuckling sailors duelling
in the soft light of 40,000 lanterns.
Just hours after hosts Qatar won the 428th and final gold medal of the
continent's biggest sporting extravaganza, the President of the Olympic Council
of Asia Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah officially closed the Doha Games.
"May the youth of Asia ever celebrate the Asian Games in the spirit of
brotherhood and for the good of humanity," he told the crowd in the Qatari
Athletes from 45 countries marched around a packed Khalifa stadium for the
final time as hundreds of dancers armed with glittering swords twirled around
giant Persian urns to the sound of traditional Arab beats.
The floor of the stadium was transformed into a vast desert, which played
host to a caravan of camels and Arabian horses.
Flying carpets and boats with neon-lit sails descended from the sky as
sword-wielding sailors unleashed a torrent of brightly-coloured fireworks into
The theme then switched to a more oriental flavour as singers and dancers
from China took the stage to showcase the next Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010.
The Asian Games flag and torch were handed over to Liu Peng, president of the
Olympic Committee of China, as the ceremony drew to a close in a crescendo of