Sept. 28, 2009
BEIRUT, Lebanon (CNB) - The opening ceremonies for the 6th Games of La Francophonie were held on Sunday, Sept. 27. Competitions in judo and beach volleyball begin today.
Olympian Joël Bourgeois of Grande-Digue was the flag-bearer as Team Canada - New Brunswick entered the stadium in front of more than 25,000 spectators and officials to officially launch the games.
The ceremonies related the history of Lebanon, its municipalities and regions. The teams - especially host Lebanon - were loudly cheered as they entered the stadium. The event ended with fireworks celebrating the importance of the Games.
"It was an honour for me to have led Team Canada - New Brunswick in the opening ceremonies," said Bourgeois. "This is the first time I have been a flag-bearer. I received an e-mail asking if I was interested and I said yes. I am a shy person by nature, but I wanted to contribute to our team."
Beach volleyball athlete Jill Blanchard of Saint John said that the reaction of the spectators - especially when Lebanon entered the stadium - and the fireworks gave her goosebumps.
"I really enjoyed the ceremonies, the visuals were incredible, and the ending was phenomenal," said Blanchard. "I am happy to be in Lebanon for the Games."
Runner Jean-Marc Doiron of Collette was happy to participate in the opening ceremonies, and agreed with Blanchard.
"I had goosebumps during the fireworks and when seeing the reaction of spectators when the Lebanese singer sang," he said. "I lived a really exciting moment."
Today's judo competition features Josh Shannon of Saint John in the -66 kilogram category. Both the men's and women's beach volleyball teams will see action today in preliminary play. Cherie Campbell of Fredericton and Jill Blanchard of Saint John will compete against Graessili and Schmocker of Switzerland, while Corey Akerley and Michael Waugh, both of Fredericton, play Sutter and Sutter of Switzerland.
MEDIA CONTACT: Normand Léger, communications, Team Canada - New Brunswick, 011-961-32-617-60.