Colourful pageantry, Samba music bring curtains to Military Games

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Hyderabad, Oct 21 (UNI) A resplendent cultural pageant showcasing India's unity in diversity, made more memorable by the breathtaking performance of the Samba dancers from Brasil, and emotional bidding adieu by athletes from 107 countries brought the curtains on the eight-day long 4th Military World Games here today.

Amid a fusion of solemnity and vibrancy, Defence Minister AK Antony declared the formal closing of the Games, which was organised for the first time outside Europe under the aegis of Counseil International Sports du Militaire (CISM).

Chief of Indian contingent Major General VK Ahluwalia handed over the CISM flag to Brigadier General Antonio Machado, the head of delegation of Brasil, where the next Games will be held, to mark the end of the fourth edition of the Games which saw at least 20 CISM records tumbling, besides setting a new world record in swimming.

Representative teams of 107 countries which competed in the Games marched past the cheering spectators at the GMC Balayogi Stadium for the last time bidding adieu to their hosts to mark the end of a successful event.

This was after the CISM flag was lowered, the Games' flame was extinguished and Bravo giving a ceremonial send off to the Games torch, after a brief ceremonial handover of the torch to Brig Gen Machado, to be relit again in Rio de Janiero in Brazil four years later to relive the spirit of sporting camaraderie in furtherance of 'Peace Through Sports', the motto of the Games.

The evening began with an enthralling Bharatnatyam dance performance by noted danseuse Sonali Sharma with the traditional rendition of ''Swagatam'' (Welcome), followed by a soul-stirring rendition of the ever popular Indian tune of 'Mile Sur Mera Tumhara To Sur Bene Hamara' (One Voice One World) by Carnatic music exponent Gayatri Sankar.

Students of Trapeze, under their mentor Shailaja Rao, and dancers from Hyderabad's noted dance studio Twist and Turn gave the capacity crowd a spellbinding fusion dance of Bharatnatyam and contemporary jazz each bringing out the peace in the universe through each of their vibrant movements.

A few minutes of musical treat was followed by the show of daredevilry by Akaash Ganga skydiving team, sauntering down from 8000 ft to the ground to huge applause by the capacity crowd at the 25,000-capacity stadium.

Then suddenly, the Sarang (peacock) helicopter team bid farewell to the Games, just as they heralded the beginning of the Games by flying past in four different formations and showering flower petals.

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