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Wuhan wows 2012 BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals

First out of the blocks at the 2012 Citroen BWF Thomas and Uber Cups Finals was none other than hosts, Wuhan, who staged a spectacular Opening Ceremony for the prestigious biennial event, reinstating why they are the deserving hosts.

The vibrant fanfare was attended by distinguished guests from the local Chinese authorities, Chinese Badminton Association and the Local Organising Committee, BWF representatives including deputy president Paisan Rangsikitpho, event sponsors, players, coaching staff, members of the media and invited public guests.

Held at the Wuhan Sports Center Natatorium, flag bearers of each participating nation graced the beautiful pool-side stage that was lit-up by giant LCD screens. A total of 16 nations will be represented in Wuhan, all having qualified through their Continental tournament earlier this year.

Nominated by their respective team managers, the majority of the flag bearers are young role models of each nation such as Lee Yong-dae (South Korea), Du Pengyu (China, pictured right), Porntip Buranaprasertsuk (Thailand), Selena Piek (Netherlands) and Tai Tzu-ying (Chinese Taipei).

China's Yu Yang (pictured left), who is the only player in the Chinese teams to have won two Olympic medals (gold and bronze at Beijing 2008), was nominated by the hosts to take the athletes oath during the Opening Ceremony.

The 60-minute eye-feast also included a concoction of Chinese cultural performances from Wushu (Chinese martial arts) to Chinese traditional dances, and the highlight has to be the Chinese acrobatic performance, which is also a Wuhan 'specialty' (pictured bottom right).

'We are extremely pleased to see the great lengths the hosts have gone to stage such a splendid Opening Ceremony for our guests and especially for all players and teams who have worked hard to be present and compete in this Thomas and Uber Cup Finals', said Paisan Rangsikitpho.

'An Opening Ceremony of this grandeur definitely serves to complement the BWF's aspirations to continuously raise the bar and quality of the presentation of our major events and Superseries', he added. 'These are the things that will generate public and commercial awareness for the sport and we want to congratulate Wuhan for their great efforts.'

The 2012 Citroen BWF Thomas and Uber Cup Finals start on 20 May, 2012.

Live Streaming of the event is available from 20 May on BadmintonWorld.TV for countries where TV broadcasting of the event is not available.

Follow BWF on twitter for live results from the event, and go to our facebook for more photos of the Opening Ceremony here.

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