An estimated crowd of over 2,000 from around the world gathered at Calgary’s Max Bell Centre to watch the opening ceremonies of the Canadian Ismaili Games.
Once the MC - Calgary’s Rishma Somji - welcomed the crowd, the ceremony began with a passionate rendition of O Canada sung by Simone Rajan. The athletes march and a lighting of the torch ceremony followed, which outdid the one at Vancouver's 2010 Olympics as all the torches were lit flawlessly!
The audience was treated to a dance by the Sorrel Drum Group. The aboriginal group performed their traditional Native hoop dance – a story telling ritual where five hoops are formed into a butterfly, eagle, snake and coyote, thus signifying the circle of life.
Finally, the ceremony concluded with the Prairies’ Ismaili choir singing a bilingual rendition of “I Believe,” originally by Nikki Yanofsky.
Behesta Moradi, a 19-year-old from Montreal, travelled across the country to watch friends compete. Like the others in attendance, she enjoyed the opening ceremonies and she’s excited to see all the people she knows and meet new friends at the Games.
When President of the Ismaili Council for the Prairies, Fauzia Lalani-Khudabux, addressed the crowd she said she hopes the comradery, unity and sense of community will live on in their memories.
"It is my sincere hope that each of you will take home with you a set of unique memories and new friends."