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Grand opening to CWG 2010
Published on 4 Oct. 2010 12:40 AM IST
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The XIX Commonwealth Games’ (CWG)opening ceremony here on Sunday evening opened with the drums and hearts of India beating as one as performers from across the nation came together to leave spectators at the iconic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and worldwide television audiences spellbound as Prince Charles and President Pratibha Patil jointly declared the Games open. Prince Charles read out the message from Queen Elizabeth, the head of the Commonwealth, and declared the games open, before President Patil gave her message for the Games and said, “Let the Games begin”, as the crowd went delirious with joy.
Military bands from the three services then played tunes as the CWG Flag was hoisted and India’s flag bearer Abhinav Bindra took the players’ oath on behalf of all the athletes. The opening ceremony made the heart swell with pride as 800 percussion artistes from all corners of the country- Manipur, Kerala, Punjab, and Karnataka among others played each of their unique drums in unision and child prodigy seven-year-old Keshav on the tabla held centrestage.
Dancing to their beats and to the tunes of the been, an instrument mostly associated with the snake charmers of India, were the giant Rajasthani puppets. The helium balloon, the biggest ever used for any event, was one to behold as it lifted off after a pyrochtechnical display of fireworks that followed the playing of the national anthem. After the first segment of the opening ceremony that lasted for 12 minutes, singer Hariharan sang Swagatam (Welcome all) along with students from different schools of Delhi, who showcased the art of mehndi (henna) painting white sheets with it to exhibit hands full of artistic designs. They formed a “namaste”, the age-old Indian greeting with hands folded, in the vast field. With the welcome over, it was the turn of the athletes parade. Dressed in the colours of their country, the athletes from 71 countries and territories filed past the appreciative crowd, waving and cheering.
But as expected, the whole 60,000-strong crowd and the dignitaries gave the host contingent a standing ovation as they were led in by Olympic Gold medallist Abhinav Bindra. The march past was followed by speeches by Suresh Kalmadi, Organising Committee Chairman, Mike Fennell, President of the CWG Federation, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Helium showstopper
The much-talked about huge helium aerostat balloon that cost Rs 70 crore turned out be a showstopper at the breathtaking opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games at the majestic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium here Sunday.
As the clock struck seven and spectacular fireworks lit the sky to signal the start of the opening ceremony, the aerostat lifted up from the centre of the packed stadium with huge puppets attached to it. It dramatically went up from the main stage to 25 metres, spell-binding the 65,000 spectators. Life-size revolving images of the action on the ground was projected on the helium balloon.
In a special effect, lights were programmed to bounce off mirrors on the aerostat while 500,000 watts of sound were used to add to the cheer of the 65,000 strong crowd at the venue. The aerostat, manufactured by Per Lindstrandt and designed by Merk Fsher is said to be the biggest helium balloon in the world.
It was suspended 25 metres above the ground. It took days for the balloon sized 40 metres x 80 metres x 12 metres, to lift above the ground and be placed in a 360 degree projection surface.

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