Magnificent ceremony brings curtains down on 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi
If India's rich and diverse culture was at a grand display at the opening ceremony, a magnificent, energetic and youthful ceremony awaited the audience at the closing show of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi on Thursday.
The closing ceremony stressed on con-temporariness and celebration, an indication to the rising India.
Almost 7,000 artistes, domestic and international, mesmerised all eyes with their talent, as the world beyond the stadium watched with joy and disbelief.
"Unity and solidarity" were the theme for the nineteenth Commonwealth Closing Ceremony. The organization committee had promised nothing but the best.
The entertainment segment of the ceremony was designed to highlight India's rich cultural heritage and the depth it enjoys in fields such as dances and martial arts.
The opening event was an Indian martial arts ceremony titled "Agni" in which 800 performers from Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Manipur, Gujarat, Punjab, Maharashtra and Nagaland displayed their skills in an eight-minute act.
The artistes performed their dare-devil skills as they showcased various martial arts forms of India with the Sanskrit verses reverberating the air.
Vande Mataram added patriotic fervor to the ceremony.
Paying tribute to the country, over 2,000 schoolchildren performed to the tunes of Oscar winner A.R. Rahman's composition Vande Mataram. Rahman was not present at the ceremony.
This segment was followed by a 10-minute performance by the Armed forces' band, which annually performs at the Beating Retreat ceremony during the Republic Day celebrations.
The Army Forces' band received loud applause as it performed 'Saare Jahaan Se Acha' , Kadam Kadam Badhaye ja....and other melodious tunes.
Then it was the turn of the athletes' march past. The contingents came in alphabetical order, carrying their national flags with joy and waiving to the applauding crowd in the stadium.
The Indian contingent received a huge applaud, as all the players, having done India proud in the Games winning 38 Gold, 27 Silver, and 36 Bronze in the overall medal tally of 101 medals.
Shooter Gagan Narang, who won four Gold medals for India, was the flag-bearer, as the rest of the contingent followed him and it was greeted by all sitting in the audience.
Rahman's composed Jiyo Utho Badho comprised different shots reminding everyone of the various moments of joy and despair as lived be athletes in these games.
Singer Shaan escorted Delhi Commonwealth Games' muscot Shera in a decorated three-wheeler and took a round of the track. The audience joined Shaan in bidding Shera a musical farewell.
At the ceremony, Organising Committee's Chief Suresh Kalmadi was once again hooted, as he began to read out his speech. He said, "it's been a life changing experience."
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, accompanied by his wife Gursharan Kaur was present at the ceremony to grace the occasion.
Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was Guest of the honour at the closing ceremony, was sitting next to the Prime Minister Dr. Singh.
Vice President Hamid Ansari, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Union Sport Minister K.P.S.Gill, Urban Development Minister S. Jaipal Reddy, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, and senior BJP leader L.K.Advani were among other distinguish personalities present on this occasion.
Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi was sitting beside Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Jitin Prasad at the stadium among the audience instead of the VVIP block. Delhi's Lt. Governor Tejender Khanna was also present on this occasion.
The mention of Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit was again greeted with a great roar in her admiration.
Michael Fennell, the Commonwealth Games Federation President, was also present on this occasion. During his speech, he thanked Delhi and all here for organising an "outstanding" Games.
"Delhi you have truly exceptional games, and given us a wonder experience to us all," Fennell said in his speech.
He said the spectators and people of Delhi have been simply "great" and appreciated them for attending all events.
After the speeches and other protocol-related events, the Commonwealth Games flag was handed over by Delhi's Lt. Governor Tejender Khanna to Scotland, the hosts of the 2014 Games in Glasgow.
The flag will now be taken off to begin a new journey towards Glasgow city where the 2014 CWG events will take place.
Over 400 Scottish performers, on this occasion, formed various designs and also created their national flag in their 10- minute besides giving a splendid dance performance.
The final word for the closure of XIX Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 came from Prince Edward, said, "On behalf of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, head of the Commonwealth,and in the name of Commonwealth Games federation, I proclaim the XIX Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 closed."
Meanwhile, the aerostat that beamed numerous colourful images at the opening ceremony, donned a new festive look, ahead of Diwali, with elaborate decorations at the closing ceremony of the Games.
Earlier, a high-tech laser show by the Germany-based firm Tarm Laser Technologies was a feast for the eyes of everyone present inside the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.
It showcased a splendid array of lights and special effects such as sea waves and graphics with beams to light up the sky.
Bollywood won hearts at the stadium. During the 30-minute segment 'Music of Universal Love' popular songs from four genres-Folk, Sufi, Indi-pop and world music-featured in the closing ceremony.
Noted film director Shyam Benegal and lyricist Prasoon Joshi were involved in the conception of the programme for the opening and closing ceremony of the Delhi Commonwealth Games. (ANI)