Proud moment to host
New Delhi, October 3
"Welcome to India, welcome to these Games. The people of India are delighted to host the 19th edition of Commonwealth Games in this historic city of Delhi," the PM said in his welcome speech at the three-hour-long dazzling opening show.
"It is a proud moment for all our countrymen. I convey my warm greetings to all members (of Commonwealth) in this august gathering of Commonwealth Games fraternity," he said.
Wishing all the participating sportspersons a memorable Commonwealth Games, Singh said, "Enjoy our hospitality, enjoy the Games, enjoy the incredible sound and sights of India… Millions are waiting eagerly to watch the Games unfold and celebrate the sporting excellence. The Games will see contest, human skill and above all our courage and uphold the spirit of the Commonwealth and seeds of equality and friendship."
The Prime Minister ended his speech saying that may the Games be successful in establishing a bond of unity. "May this (Games) spread peace and equality among the people of all nations,” he added.
Earlier, it was both cheers and jeers for Suresh Kalmadi, the chairman of the Organising Committee, when he made his speech at the opening ceremony. However, it was cheers all the way for Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit.
The Pakistani contingent drew a heavy round of applause from the crowd, notwithstanding the irritants in the bilateral ties.
After the speeches, the Queen's Baton, which traversed through all the 71 Commonwealth nations, made a grand entry with Bindra being given the honour.
Badminton star Saina Nehwal, Beijing Olympic Games bronze medallist boxer Vijender Singh and wrestler Sushil Kumar were the others who carried the baton.
It was followed by the arrival of the Games flags of all the participating countries and the oath-taking ceremony by the Indian captain Abhinav Bindra. — PTI