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No less than Chinese president Hu Jintao declared the competition in the week-long meet open, welcoming close to 8,000 athletes from a record 152 countries from all over the world with a grand party celebrating the emergence of young but talented athletes.

International University Sports Federation (FISU) president George E. Killian urged young athletes in his opening speech to cherish this “unique opportunity to share ideas with people from different cultures.”

Although without the usual fireworks display, the four-hour long opening ceremony watched by thousands on the newly-built stadium known as the ‘Spring Cocoon’ and on national TV, achieved a dazzling visual effect on a giant, six-screen 2,840-meter LED screen walls which gradually opened to unveil a perfect night view of Shenzhen Bay and Hong Kong in the distance.

Thousands of college students performed songs and dances highlighting the youth and its theme, “Start Here, Make a Difference.”

The opening ceremony alone consisted of four chapters: “Here Meeting the World”, “Here celebrating the future”, “Here celebrating civilization” and Here continuing the dream”.