Colourful end to Commonwealth Games
- They sang and danced well into the night on Thursday as the curtains came down on the 12-day Commonwealth Games that ended in an unprecedented medal haul and number two position for India in the medals tally.
In what turned out to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller in the women's singles final of the badminton competition, top-seeded Saina Nehwal, the rising world star, snatched a three-game victory over Malaysian Mew Choo Wong, to push India up to the second position, just one gold medal ahead of England.
The closing ceremony capped 12 days of sporting glory that saw Australia take home the biggest haul of medals at 177, including 74 gold. For the first time in the history of the Games, India took the second slot with a rich haul of 101 medals, including 38 gold.
England ended up with 143 medals, including 37 gold.
Colour, spontaneous gaiety and bonhomie marked the ceremony just as they do at all major multidiscipline games. As the athletes marched into the stadium in mixed batches, for one last moment, screaming, shouting and saying “thank you India,” there was relief all around that the Games had gone off without an incident.
‘Agni', a segment depicting the martial arts of the country, a combination of military bands that exited by playing saare jehan se acha to thunderous ovation, ‘Vande Maataram', a presentation of colour by some 2010 schoolchildren, and ‘music of universal love' marked the cultural presentation.
“A truly memorable celebration” was how Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell described the Games. He praised the OC under Mr. Kalmadi for having successfully overcome the challenges, and thanked the Union and Delhi governments.
Prince Edward, on behalf of Queen Elizabeth, declared the Games closed, and called upon the sportspersons of the Commonwealth to assemble in Glasgow, Scotland, in four years' time.
Among the thousands who had packed into the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, which was also the venue for the spectacular Oct 3 opening ceremony, was Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the chief guest. Accompanying him were Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Vice President Hamid Ansari and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
The gala was also a tribute to the 6,700 athletes of the 71 participating teams from Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, 10 from Europe and 13 from Oceania.
Saare jahaan se achha
Hum bulbule(n) hai(n) uski
Woh gulsitaan hamaara.
Parbat woh sabse uncha
Woh santari hamaara
Woh pasban hamaara. Godime(n) khelti hai(n)
Jiski hazaaro(n) nadiya
Gulshan hai jinki damse
Raksh-I-jinan hamaara.. Mazhab nahin sikhaata
Aapas main bair rakhna
Hindi hain hum watan hai