Syrian President Hafez al-Assad officially opened the fifth Pan-Arab Sports Tournament in Damascus on Wednesday (6 October).
LV Illuminated picture of President Assad of Syria in Pan-Arab Sports Tournament stadium, Damascus
GV Arab League representatives hoisting tournament flag
SV Runner carrying flame
GV Crowd clapping
GV Runner ignites tournament flame
CU ZOOM OUT Doves released (2 shots)
GVs Syrian athletes in parade (3 shots)
SV Men carrying woman, and athletes on platform followed by athletes carrying flags
GV Saudi Arabian athletes
SV Dancers and drummers
TV Syrian soldiers with guns among crowd
GV Tanks and troops in stadium in re-enactment of October 1973 Arab-Israeli war
SV & GVs Model of jet fighter and tanks firing guns (musical background) and three men in simulated rocket attack (6 shots)
SPORT - GENERAL
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Syrian President Hafez al-Assad officially opened the fifth Pan-Arab Sports Tournament in Damascus on Wednesday (6 October).
SYNOPSIS: An illuminated board high-lighting a portrait of the president was on display at the Al-Abasiein stadium where the games were held. The stadium was especially built for the games--part of the enormous expense and preparation the Syrians had put into staging them. Arab League officials had the honour of hoisting the tournament flag and the impressive ceremony was watched by many members of Arab and foreign diplomatic corps posted to Damascus. In a ceremony like that used at the olympic Games, an athlete carried a torch into the arena and ignited the symbolic flame to start the tournament.
Athletes from 15 nations were taking part. But this year Egypt and Iraq were not present. The impressive march was led by the Syrians.
The Saudi Arabians. Two days earlier there had been another Saudi show of strength when several thousand soldiers paraded in the capital before returning home. The Egyptian newspaper, Al-Ahram, said the Saudis were pulling out of Syria in protest against Syria's military thrust in Lebanon. A Syrian spokesman said the unit was going home for a "weaponry familiarisation" course.
The tournament was also an opportunity for the Syrians to show off some of their weaponry. On particular spot in the parade that drew roars of approval from the huge crowd was a symbolic re-enactment of the October 1973 war against the Israelis, in which the Arab world claimed victory because they regained some territory taken from them by the Israelis in the 1967 war.