Pune, Oct 11 (UNI) Commonwealth Games Federation President Michael Fennell today said Pune is ready a full year before the curtain on the third edition of the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games (CYG) goes up.
The games will get underway at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports City Mahalunge-Balewadi, near here, from October 11 to 18 next year.
Speaking at a colourful extravaganza of dance and music held at the Engineering College ground here this evening to mark the 365 days to go for the first-ever Youth Games to be held in the country and for that matter in Asia, Mr Fennell said ''I am indeed a privileged person to be present on the memorable occasion, showcasing the vibrant energy of the city's youth and above all, their whole-hearted commitment before the youths from 71 countries converge in Pune to compete in nine disciplines of the games.'' ''The Commonwealth General Assembly meeting, scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka next month, with all the 71 members representing their nations, will be in full attendance. Then, I would have no hesitation in informing them that 'Pune is ready,'' he said.
He sought an assurance from a mammoth audience present on the College ground that they would work really hard during the next 365 days to make the 2008 CYG a resounding success and make Pune proud.
The CYG is a real test and serves as the trial for the 2010 Commonwealth Games, to be held in Delhi, Mr Fennell said.
Earlier, Union Minister for Urban Development Jaipal Reddy, addressing the august gathering, made a spot announcement of allocating an additional budget of Rs 300 crore from the Centre's flagship Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
Mr Reddy had already sanctioned Rs 400 crore for the development of the city's roads and transportation.
Mr Reddy also expressed his optimism that Pune will not belie the herculean task undertaken by its MP Suresh Kalmadi, who is also chairman of the 2008 CYG and the 2010 CG Games in Delhi.
Mr Kalmadi, who is also the president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), exhorted the Punekars to work hard to make the games a thumping success.
On the progress of the work, Mr Kalmadi exuded confidence and said every stadium will be completed well before the stipulated time frame and will be handed over to the Games Technical Conduct Committee.
The theme song of the 2008 CYG 'Ab Ayaa Hai Jigrr Yeh Saath Hamara... Hum Ko To Hai Jeetna', penned by noted writer and lyricist Javed Akhtar, will be rendered by crooner Shankar Mahadevan at the opening ceremony of the games.
But the dance sequence, which was presented by the standard 10th students of the Dr Calmed School, choreographed by Santosh Shetty, drew spontaneous applause from the audience present on the occasion.
Maharashtra Chief Minster Vilasrao Deshmukh, who could not grace the occasion due to some reason, was represented by state Marketing Minister Harshwardhan Patil, who also assured all help and co-operation from the state government in making the games all round success.
Among the top dignitaries present on the occasion included the Army's newly appointed GOC-in-C Noble Thumbhuraj and former Information and Broadcasting minister K P Singh Deo. Among the galaxy of sportspersons included former hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay, ace shooter Samresh Jung, Anjali Bhagwat-Pathak and Tejaswini.