With an estimated global audience of more than 2.6 billion, the Opening Ceremony of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007, kicked off on March 11 at the new Trelawny Stadium, east of Montego Bay on the island of Jamaica. A capacity-sized crowd of 12,000 was in attendance to witness the three-hour-long ceremony dubbed “West Indian Energy - From Plantation to Pop”, a colourful spectacle reflecting the various cultures of the Caribbean and highlighting the strong traditions, history and legacy of cricket in the region.
With 16 international cricket teams, Heads of States, broadcasters, officials, sponsors and fans flying in to Jamaica’s tourist capital, Montego Bay, the Opening Ceremony of the Cricket World Cup was the biggest international sporting event ever hosted by Jamaica.
The Jamaica Military Band decked out in its scarlet uniform and with sharp precision set the stage for the pomp and pageantry of the Caribbean extravaganza featuring a number of international artistes including Ireland’s The Duffy Brothers, Jamaica’s Sean Paul, Alison Hinds from Barbados, Machel Montano of Trinidad & Tobago and Kevin Lyttle from St. Vincent & the Grenadines, and South African reggae artiste Lucky Dube The showcase also featured Caribbean dance sequences, fire-eaters and stilt-walkers playing cricket.
The ceremony was reflective of the spirit and energy of the Caribbean. Jamaica’s Prime Minister, the Hon. Portia Simpson Miller welcomed the many visitors to the island and the Caribbean. The speeches ended with Barbadian national hero Sir Garfield Sobers, a former West Indian all-rounder acknowledged as one of the greatest players in the history of the game, officially declaring the tournament open.
Following the opening ceremony, Jamaica will host Group D first round matches and one semi-final on April 24 at the recently renovated Sabina Park in Kingston. Hosts, West Indies, go head-to-head with Pakistan in the opening match of the tournament. The much anticipated match between Pakistan and Ireland will take place on St Patrick’s Day, March 17.
Jamaica remains an ideal location to host major international sporting events and with temperatures averaging approximately 80-86¡F (27-30¡C) the island is a desirable destination for year-round training and a wonderful location for international sporting events.
The Jamaica Tourist Board’s Regional Director, UK/ N. Europe, Elizabeth Fox said:
‘With the success of the Opening Ceremony of the Cricket World Cup, Jamaica has proved it can host world class international sporting events with colour, vibrancy and flair. Major improvements made to the roads and airports means Jamaica now has the infrastructure to support international events like the Cricket World Cup and coupled with fabulous beaches, accommodation to suit every budget and the warmth of the Jamaican people sporting fans can’t fail to want to extend their trip into a holiday.’
Hailed as one of the best ever by the IAAF, the world governing body for athletics the island hosted the IX IAAF/Coca Cola World Junior Championships in Athletics in 2002, the World Netball Championships in 2003, and the XV Caribbean Island Swimming Championships in 2004, just to name a few.