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Closing Ceremony of Commonwealth Games (Delhi)

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Posted by on Friday, October 15, 2010, 10:46
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The curtain fell on the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Thursday evening with a closing ceremony that celebrated the end of 11 days of sport with a mix of relief and jubilation.

Closing Ceremony of Commonwealth Games
Closing Ceremony of Commonwealth Games

In the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, a two-and-a-half hour show of traditional dance, Bollywood music and huge fireworks gave the finishing sparkle to an event that survived rocky preparations and daily operational hiccups.

With many Indians pointing out that pessimistic international expectations had been proved wrong, the organisers said their decision to hold the Games in fast-developing India was a major gamble that had paid off.Unfinished athletes’ accommodation, security fears, big-name withdrawals and poor ticket sales were among a myriad of difficulties that got the Games off to an uncertain start.

But the occasion closed on a high after Indian athletes performed beyond all expectations to finish second in the overall medals table, sneaking ahead of England with a badminton gold late on Thursday.

Attendances at most venues improved dramatically, no terror attack materialised, and glitches over transport, and a stomach bug among swimmers were all overcome.

Britain’s Prince Edward officially closed the Games in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Suresh Kalmadi, the chairman of the organising committee who bore much of the criticism about the Games.

“A month ago questions were being asked whether the Games would be held at all,” admitted Kalmadi whose speech was greeted by boos by the crowd.

Instead the event had shown “India’s ability to stand up and show the world what we can achieve, despite being faced with adversity,” he said.

“All this has made what has turned out to be the largest, the most watched and the most enjoyable Games ever.”

The closing ceremony featured hundreds of dancers brandishing fighting sticks, military bands and children forming the Indian flag before the athletes arrived in a cheerful parade that set the evening’s informal tone.

Glasgow marked the start of its role as Commonwealth Games host for 2014 with a lone bagpiper who was soon joined by 352 kilted dancers and an inflatable model of the elusive Loch Ness monster.

The Scottish city is likely to focus on solving Delhi’s struggle to attract many world-class stars — and it may also balk at matching the bill of the Delhi extravaganza, which is thought to have cost up to six billion dollars.

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