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Monday, October 4, 2010

2010 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony at New Delhi

Dear (s)

For the sports lover, it promises to be a grand feat – a test of individuals and Nations vying for their prowess in skills, competitive spirit, physical endurance and entertainment. The 19th Commonwealth Games (the 9th to be held under that name !) got to off to a flying start at the National capital yesterday (3rd Oct 2010). This certainly is the largest multi sport event conducted in our country – the biggest earlier ones being the Asian Games in 1951 and in 1982.

Commonwealth might have outlived its purpose, the Commonwealth of Nations was earlier known as British Commonwealth, most countries were part of erstwhile British Empire. In the present edition 71 Nations are fielding teams ; Fiji was suspended from the CW. Rwanda is fielding a team for the first time after becoming a CW member in 2009. Commonwealth games were first held in 1930 under the title of British empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The current title was assumed only in 1978. Australia, Canada, England, Newzealand, Scotland and Wales have been part of every version.

Yesterday there was a team by name Jersey (have you ever heard of this Country before ? - but they might well show up in the medals tally) ; searches revealed that Bailiwick of Jersey is a British Crown dependency off the coast of Normandy, France – two groups of small islands some of which are not permanently inhabited. The UK is constitutionally responsible for the defence of Jersey. Sometimes, participants from obscure places, poor third world Countries outperform others who have had access to higher and quality facilities.

The opening ceremony of the 2010 Commonwealth Games began at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium @ 0700 pm IST and displayed India’s varied culture in a plethora of cultural showcases. Prince Charles and our President Pratibha Patil officially declared the Games open. The other dignitaries included heads of the State : Mohamed Nasheed, President of Maldives; Marcus Stephen, President of Nauru; Sir Anand Satyanand, Governor General of New zealand and Prince Albert II of Monaco.

The ‘Rhythms of India,' a vibrating five-minute show comprising 800 drummers set the tempo. Thereafter, 1,050 school children from the capital performed choreography of Namaste, an acknowledged sign of welcome and respect to the guests. The song, Swagatam, smartly incorporated nuances of Hindustani, Carnatic and Qawwali forms of music, with the credit for this fine fusion going to noted singer Hariharan. The customary athletes' parade was headed by Australia, the superpower in Commonwealth sports. The champion shooter Abinav Bindra led the Indian contingent to a thunderous applause.

The Rhythm of India was an unique display by the drummers from Kerala, Manipur, Karnataka, Orissa, Punjab & Meghalaya. It was reverberating beat of 800 drums from Pungcholom of Manipur to Chenda of Kerala but the seven year old prodigy Keshav with his tabla performance was the cynosure of all eyes. The kid from Puducherry was the ustad on tabla thumping confidently and making all viewers wonder-struck.
The Creative head Bharat Bala can take all the credit for choosing this kid having spotted him in a show at Auroville at Pondicherry and the idea of allowing the kid to perform alongside hundreds of percussionists was indeed a great idea. The kid reportedly learnt intricacies by observing Ganesh Basavaraj though there was no official training for him. Like other kids of his age, he is also interested in Snow White and other stories but is a real prodigy.

The helium aerostat, fire works, the crowds, the theme all enthralled but the icing on the cake was the performance by the young Keshav. A great start to the CWG and hope Indians garner some medals as well.

In the last version at Australia in 2006, India ended up 4th with 22 gold medals : 16 from Shooting, 3 from Weightlifting, 2 TT and 1 boxing.

Jai Hind

Regards – Sampathkumar S

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