Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

FOCUS

Many Turks angry over Syrian refugee situation

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Wreckage of Algeria plane found in Mali

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Spectacular ceremony kicks off Delhi games

Video by Vikram Singh

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-10-03

A spectacular ceremony kicked off the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on Sunday, after a chaotic build-up that left the event teetering on the brink of collapse.

AFP - Plagued by charges of corruption, security fears and shambolic organisation, the 19th Commonwealth Games threw off the shackles of its chaotic lead-up Sunday to stage a spectacular opening ceremony.
  
Watched by a crowd of almost 60,000 at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi, with a worldwide television audience of more than a billion, the launch was billed as bringing "India alive" for the 11-day sporting showpiece.
  
Prince Charles declared the Games open after receiving a relay baton that had travelled some 170,000 kilometres (107,000 miles) to all the Commonwealth nations, most of them former British colonies, before arriving in India.


  
"I have much pleasure in declaring the 19th Commonwealth Games open," the prince said after thousands of the Games' 7,000 participating athletes had paraded around the ground.
  
The tightly-drilled spectacle -- far from the epic which kicked off the Beijing Olympics but as fastidiously organised -- marked a stark contrast to the build-up, when the Indian capital suffered weeks of disastrous headlines.
  
Teams arrived to find the athletes' village unfinished and filthy, a new footbridge next to the main stadium collapsed injuring dozens of workers, and concerns about health, security and transport have also been high.
  
But from the first crackle of applause to the singalong grand finale more than three hours later, it was clear some chastening lessons had been learnt as more than 6,000 performers showcased 5,000 years of India's history and culture.
  
The crowd was not so keen, however, when it came to forgiving Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the organising committee and the face of the troubled Games, whose speech was greeted by an angry chorus of jeers.
  
The ceremony kicked off as the Delhi skies darkened with Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of York, introduced to the crowd before drummers beat out the "rhythm of India" accompanied by traditional Shankha trumpeters.
  
Keshav, a seven-year-old prodigy tabla player from southeastern India, led 100 tribal drummers in a percussion section as applause from a rapturous audience built to a crescendo.
  
The "Aerostat", a reportedly nine-million-dollar (400-million-rupee) white helium-filled balloon, rose 25 metres (80 feet) above the ground as the show began.
  
The balloon housed cameras, laser projectors and mirrors providing a 360-degree viewing experience as nearly 3,000 fireworks danced around the rim of the stadium and lit up the Delhi sky.
  
According to local media reports, India has spent nearly 34 million dollars on the opening and closing ceremonies, enlisting an army of choreographers, designers, producers, suppliers, consultants, engineers and administrators.
  
Athletes from the 71 competing nations paraded around the stadium, moving to their seats before the Queen's Baton was brought in and handed to the prince, who read out a message from the Queen.
  
"It is particularly fitting that the 2010 Commonwealth Games is being held in India," the message said,  referring to the celebrations marking 60 years of Indian independence and its birth as a sovereign nation in 1947.
  
"I firmly believe that when countries can compete in sports together like this, it helps all nations to search together for peace throughout the world," it added.
  
"To everyone, I send my very best wishes for what I hope will be the experience of a lifetime."
  
The Games played homage to the guru-shishya tradition with musicians and classical dancers gathering under the Aerostat before yoga performers spread out across the arena bathed in amber light, wowing the crowd with athletic poses.
  
A procession of wedding guests, mystics and artisans, a human train, tuk-tuk drivers and thousands of folk dancers celebrated India's diverse cultural heritage before the final act -- Oscar-winning "Slumdog Millionaire" composer A.R. Rahman singing the self-penned theme song of the sporting extravaganza.
  
The Games will feature 16 sports, with England and Australia expected to dominate the medals tally.
  
About two million tickets were put on sale for the multi-sport Games, but rumours have long circulated in the capital that the response has been lacklustre amid delays in finalising the sales network.

Date created : 2010-10-03

  • COMMONWEALTH GAMES

    Much work still to be done, cautions Games chief

    Read more

  • 2010 COMMONWEALTH GAMES

    New Zealand questions if New Delhi Games will go ahead

    Read more

  • INDIA

    Shooting puts New Delhi on high alert ahead of Commonwealth Games

    Read more

COMMENT(S)