The 29th Southeast Asian Games are under way in Malaysia, with 11 countries competing in the multi-sport event that runs through Aug. 31.
Some 80,000 spectators who filled the Malaysian National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday despite a heavy thunderstorm were treated to a dazzling show of lights and culture during the opening ceremony, officiated by Malaysian Sultan Muhammad V.
“The theme of the Games is ‘Rising Together,’ signifying the coming of age for Southeast Asia as a community,” Kuala Lumpur 2017 organizing committee said in a statement. “The region has come a long way in making its mark on the global stage and this is a time for us to come together to write the next chapter in our collective journey of peace, progress, and prosperity.”
Malaysian officials have been on heightened security alert and carried out at least four drills and three raids in weeks leading up to the games. More than 10,000 police personnel are on duty throughout the venues and at landmarks in Kuala Lumpur.