(ECNS) - A delegation from China’s Hong Kong received a standing ovation when they appeared at the opening ceremony of the 2019 World Police and Fire Games in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, on Thursday night.
The flag of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region along with the characters “Hong Kong, China” were displayed on a giant screen during the ceremony. Members of the audience shouted “Go, go” in the local Sichuan dialect to Hong Kong police, who waved toy pandas.
The biennial athletic event, open to active and retired law enforcement and fire service personnel throughout the world, started in 1985. This year, nearly 10,000 participants from 79 countries, regions and international organizations are taking part in the competition, which runs from Aug. 8 to 18.
The Olympic-style competition includes 60 events such as boxing, darts, and indoor rowing, with 56 to be held in Chengdu and the remaining four in the United States.
It is the first time for the event to be held in Asia and it has attracted delegations from countries along the Belt and Road initiative.
A Thai official said 178 police and firefighters had been sent from Thailand to compete, thanks to support from overseas Chinese in the country, and they will take part in ten events.
During the opening ceremony, participants and audience members stood in silence for a period to honor police officers and firefighters who had died serving around the world.