Ladies and gentlemen, the UNMC Nation’s Cup is up for grabs once again! The three week-long event kicked off its opening ceremony last night in a flamboyant manner promising of great things to come. This event aims to provide a platform for our talented athletes to pitch their sporting skills to the test against one another and to make their nations proud by winning medals. Most importantly, this event celebrates the very ethnic diversity and unity that the people in University of Nottingham Malaysia take pride in.
Contrary to the norm, the first part of the opening ceremony this year was held indoors due to the torrential thunder storm that led many to worry that the event would be called off! However, true to the Nottingham spirit, nothing could put a damper on the morale of the student body and the indoor courts were filled to the brim with representatives and players from 20 different countries. This includes the “Rest of the World”, where people from countries with too few representatives can band together to participate as a team in Nation’s Cup.
Keeping with the traditions of previous years,the ceremony began with a heart thumping 24 festive drums performance by the Chinese Cultural Society, followed by this year’s SA Sports Officer, Omar El Shweekh’s short introductory speech.
The most iconic performance that night was the stunning mime carried out by the Student Association (SA) sports representatives. The essence of each sport was displayed artfully in this short skit which demonstrated not only the multitude of sporting opportunities available at UNMC, but the strength and hard work of the team that made this all possible too. The seamless choreography and perfect coordination displayed how united and integrated the SA is.
Hot on the SA’s heels was the UNMC Zumba team which fired up the excitement to a fever pitch with their energetic dance moves and spot-on song choices. Their open invitation for the audience to join them on the dance floor brought students hailing from all parts of the world to enact amusing parodies of their complex dance moves as one group.
A short while (with much excited shouting and friendly jostling) later, the Opening Ceremony found itself outdoors with all 20 countries lined up for the much anticipated Nation Parade. Passion and patriotism blazed bright as a multitude of voices rang throughout the field, shouting cheers in unique languages not understood by all. (We have it on good authority that the Sri Lankans chose to use the lack of understanding to their own mischievous benefit).
The event was officially ended with the lighting of a torch by representatives of the top 3 countries in Nations Cup 2016, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Egypt. The words “Friendship through Sport” hung on the lips of everyone present, displaying a warm atmosphere of unity in diversity.
As expected by most, the official end did not spell the actual end of the event as the music began, the selfie sticks popped out and more people enjoyed what is sold in the food stalls lining the site. The Sri Lankans, Pakistanis,Bangladeshis and Indians were the last to leave the party as they collaborated in whacky cultural fusion dances that had brought peals of laughter to everyone present.
Overall, UNMC’s 7th annual Nation’s Cup opening ceremony provided the student body with an unforgettable experience not just filled with passion and patriotism, but also unity in diversity. We would like to congratulate the organizing committee for this amazing event and extend our best wishes to all athletes who are bound to make their nation proud. Win or lose, have fun and enjoy the experience!
Written by: Madhara Iddamalgoda