Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the opening ceremony of the Asian Games on Friday in the southern city of Guangzhou, officials confirmed. Almost 10,000 athletes and nearly 5,000 team officials from 45 countries and regions have gathered for the 16th edition of the Games -- the biggest ever -- competing for 476 gold medals.
In a change to standard procedure, the opening ceremony will be held on an island in the Pearl River rather than a stadium. Organisers are promising the largest lighting show ever seen at a major sports event, based around a theme prominently featuring the local Lingnan culture.
Film starlet Zhang Ziyi and world-renowned pianist Lang Lang will perform together in one of the highlights of the show, while athletes will arrive by a convoy of pleasure boats. The official start of competition is Saturday, when 28 titles will be decided.