October 5, 2010

Spectacular opening ceremony proves critics wrong


By Syed Khalid Mahmood

Contrary to what was being anticipated worldwide the opening ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. on October 3 turned out to be a magnificent earning appreciation from the international media.

The newspapers having been critical of the Games preparations earlier carried headlines like 'An ancient land opens its heart to the world', 'India opens doors to the world at opening ceremony' to describe the two-hour cultural extravaganza catching the imagination of the spectators as well as the millions watching it live on their television sets.

The respected British newspaper The Guardian described it was a moment of national pride for India.' India has arrived: spectacular ceremony opens Commonwealth Games,' read the newspaper's headline.

"This was the moment that 1.2 billion people – there are few in India who were still unaware of the event – had been waiting for," it added.

The Daily Mail was also lavish in its praise of the ceremony which showcased the centuries-old Indian culture to a packed crowd..

"The XIX Commonwealth Games crawled up off the canvas last night with a display of pageantry and technical wizardry that, finally, projected the image India craved on to two billion television sets around the world.” the newspaper said.

"India put on its best face on Sunday night and pulled off a brilliant opening ceremony that was extraordinary in its ambition and execution. It was everything the organisers had promised and more - an energetic celebration of all India has been and all it intends to be," wrote The Daily Telegraph.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported the ceremony as "A vibrant celebration of 5,000 years of Indian culture with just a hint of Bollywood showcased in a performance involving more than 6,000 artists.

"India has won the first unofficial gold medal of the Games - for best team uniform, The Indian athletes looked like royalty in their smart traditional maroon tops with gold braided scarves. Slick and sensational," it added

The President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, who witnessed the Opening Ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi, hailed the arrangements for the Games and dismissed the criticism that preceded it as creation of 'old and established' media which failed to judge 'new' India.

"It is difficult for some of the people specially media, old and established, to judge India...I think it is their difficulty to understand how India has evolved," he said, adding some people have to "certainly understand that new India is different,” he remarked.

"The opening ceremony was very spectacular and very beautiful. I am sure the Games are going to as perfect as any games," he thought.

Meanwhile the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, reckoned that a successful Commonwealth Games will provide India the foundation to think about a future Olympic bid.

“I think everything will be fine. Of course you can only judge the organisation at the moment of the closing ceremony but I think it’s going well. There is still a difference between Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games. The size of the Olympic Games is bigger, there are more athletes and more sports,” he explained to the media after attending the glittering opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.


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