FRENCH-based firm 'Seiten Event' has started rehearsals for the opening ceremony of the 21st Gulf Cup tournament, which gets underway on Saturday at the National Stadium in Riffa.
Company representatives had several visits to the stadium in order to finalise the programme of the opening ceremony and identify various needs.
The final rehearsals will be held tonight and tomorrow at the same venue, according to organising committee executive secretary Mariam Yousif.
"Seiten Event started its preparations for this prestigious event a while ago when their officials were in Bahrain to make all initial arrangements to get high-tech equipment shipped, which will be used for the opening and closing ceremonies," said Maryam.
Maryam said she was pleased with the smoothness of the rehearsal, and described it as unique and amazing.
"The opening ceremony will be a blend of different themes and cultural songs that will definitely lead to success and a very memorable occasion," added Maryam.
She said that the opening ceremony programme will be short, but expressive, as it contains short themes and artistic cultural shows performed through Bahraini and other GCC dances.
Maryam noted that famous singers from Bahrain, including Nizar Abdulla, Ahmed Al Hermi and Fatima Al Zayani, will be participating in the ceremony.
Elsewhere, Executive Committee chairman Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa headed for Saudi Arabia where he presented an invitation to Makkah Province Governor Prince Khalid Al Faisal to attend Saturday's ceremony.
Prince Khalid welcomed Shaikh Salman and thanked him for this generous gesture, commending the great efforts of Bahrain and the support of its leadership to organise this event.
He expressed confidence in Bahrain's ability to provide all that is needed to make this prestigious football gathering a special occasion, affirming all GCC countries' support and co-operation with Bahrain for the continuity of the tournament.
On his part, Shaikh Salman noted the key role of Prince Khalid in supporting the previous editions of the Gulf Cup since it was founded in 1970 in Bahrain, noting that Prince Khalid was one of the prominent personalities who had helped make this dream come true.
Ahmed Al Wahishi, meanwhile, was excluded from the referees' team to run the tournament after he was injured during physical tests held yesterday at Khalifa Sports City Stadium in Isa Town.
The referees committee of the 21st Gulf Cup, presided by Baleid Larkan of Algeria, has asked the Yemen Football Association to choose another referee to replace Al Wahishi.
Committee secretary Jassim Mahmood said these tests were divided into six stages, with the first being 40m x 6, which each referee must complete in 6.2 seconds. He also said that a referee will have two chances for each test in order to qualify for the next stage.
The main media centre, located at the National Stadium, will be opened today at 12noon. Several volunteers will be available at the centre to help the media staff in using the facilities to cover the events.
The media committee will hold its third meeting at Elite Grande Hotel in Seef District to discuss the conditions of certain facilities for media delegations coming to Bahrain this weekend.
The committee is presided by Tawfeeq Al Salhi and includes Khalid Al Kuwari of Qatar, Nasser Al Yamahi of the UAE, Fadhel Al Mazroei of Oman, Mouath Al Khamesi of Yemen, Husain Al Kharsani of Iraq, Ali Al Zahrani of Saudi Arabia and Haief Al Mutairi of Kuwait.