Deaf Olympics Kick Off in Taiwan

TAIWAN: The 21st Summer Deaf Olympics officially kicked off in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei.

The twelve-part opening ceremony included singing by Taiwanese pop star A-mei, an appearance by actor Jet-Li and choreographed artistic performances themed on Taiwan''s landscape, ecology, and even its food.

One of the acts, meant to highlight Taipei as a culinary capitol, had performers dressed up as noodles, vegetables and stewed eggs. They assembled into famous local dishes, such as minced pork and beef noodle soup.

Many of the performers, who are deaf, responded to split-second visual cues.

The Deaflympics features 20 sports, including soccer, swimming, wrestling, table tennis and orienteering. A record 4,000 athletes from 81 countries are registered to compete this year. Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou also attended the opening ceremony.

The Deaf Olympics were first held in Paris, France in 1924. The competition, the first ever for athletes with disabilities, was then known as the Silent Games. This is the first time the Deaflympics have been held in Asia. The closing ceremony will be on September 15.