Nearly 10,000 athletes celebrated the opening of the Asian Games Friday evening. The games held for the first time in an Arab country.
Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar arrived in Khalifa stadium, receiving a standing ovation from his citizens and visitors. Qatar said it had invested US$2.8 billion in preparations to the Asian Games, which lured athletes and officials from 45 countries and regions all over Asia.
Over 4,000 journalists from all over the world arrived in the tiny Gulf states to cover the event. Qatar built or redeveloped 21 state-of-art venuesfor the 39 sports, 424 events, 11 more sports than the Olympic Games.
Prominent Arab leaders attended the opening ceremony, including Syrian President Bashar al Assad, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.