Unification News for August 2004

Opening Day of the Interreligious Peace Sports Festival at the WCSF 2004

The opening ceremony of the Interreligious Peace Sports Festival began with a big bang with a procession by 100 flag bearers. The athletes looked excited as they marched into the stadium in groups sorted by their faiths that include Unification, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Judaism and Shintoism.

After receiving a grand welcome and an inspirational speech by Reverend Sun Myung Moon himself, VIPs, athletes and the 4000 locals of Asan were presented with several warm-hearted musical and dance selections by young Korean performers. There was also an exhilarating instrumental performance by the Korean band "Two Ji." Audience members and athletes alike were awed as the ceremony ended with a beautiful display of fireworks.

The fun did not end with the opening ceremony. During the day many sports events took place, including table tennis, basketball and soccer. For the Muslim Singaporean soccer team, losing the first round at the game was not a big deal. The manager of the team, Mr. Omar Ibrahim from the Association Of Singapore Muslim Proffessionals, said: "It's ok to lose, you know. The most important thing is that these kids are having fun and getting to know so many athletes around the world. I was so surprised to see how such an exposure could give so much confidence to my boys when I saw the way they mingle with the other group. Back home, they were so timid!"

Timid is not the word for the Miami soccer team. The team was the runner-up for last year's IPSF soccer game and is already promoting IPSF in America through "live" radio interviews held at the press office.

Lester Melendez said: "We want more people to know about IPSF. It's a great place to be, and I think if we promote IPSF widely and correctly more and more people will be excited about this event."

The day ended with the colorful performances of athletes from various nations during the cultural night. Everyone’s eyes were glued to the stage as the Mongolian delegation explained a bit about their culture in their traditional clothing. Their presentation was followed by cultural dance performances by the North Indian and Thai athletes. They were really amazing to watch. The highlight of that event was the martial arts performance by the students of Sun Moon University.

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