GUANGZHOU, Nov. 11 (Xinhua) -- Organizers of the Guangzhou Asian Games have promised a water-themed opening ceremony Friday evening on Haixinsha Island along the Pearl River, but are tight lipped on who will be the final torchbearer and the method of lighting the Asian Games cauldron.
He Jiqing, director of ceremonies and cultural events at the organizing committee, told a press conference Thursday that the opening ceremony will integrate the cultures of China, Asia and sports, with the Pearl River as the stage and the entire city as the background.
The Pearl River cuts through the heart of Guangzhou, one of China's three largest cities.
He said the idea to stage the Asian Games opening ceremony out of a stadium for the first time was put forward in 2008.
"This change of venue for the opening ceremony is a breakthrough in the history of large-scale, international sports events, as Haixinsha is not an enclosed venue, but an open space with unlimited extension of time and space. This is a revolutionary breakthrough of Guangzhou," he said.
He added that water will be the main theme of the artistic performance.
"Guangzhou is a city around water, which has bred the distinguishing regional culture of Guangzhou," he said.
He declined to disclose the cost of the ceremony, but said, "We're going to host the opening ceremony in a pragmatic, cost-effective manner."
He also refused to reveal who will be the final torchbearer.
"As for the torch-lighting moment, it has always been the top secret and most important moment in large multi-sports games, and tomorrow, the same situation will happen again," he said. "We have carefully planned the torch lighting and it will bring you happy surprises. As for who will light the flame, you will find out when the time comes."
The Nov. 12-27 Asian Games will be the largest edition ever, featuring 9,704 athletes and 4,750 officials from 45 countries and regions in a record 42 sports.