Commonwealth Youth Games open amidst dazzling ceremony

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Pune, Oct 12 (UNI) India heralded the beginning of the 3rd Commonwealth youth Games with a fascinating show that vividly brought out the creativity and vibrancy of its civilisation in a most spectacular fashion.

It was a night to remember for hundreds of athletes from 71 countries and thousands of people watched as this historic city organised a party that aptly went with the spirit of ''You and me from the one World, heart to heart we are one family.'' The opening ceremony with thousand performers did not disappoint. The Shivaji Chatrapati Sports Complex was transformed into a stage for a one-off show that was heavily contemporary as well as historical and cultural.

President Pratibha Devisingh Patil declared the games open as noted musician Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma and his son Rahul performed the rendition of the National anthem.

Hosts India, fielding the largest 154-member contingent, aspires to reap a record medal tally bettering its performance in the earlier two editions held at Edinburg in Scotland (2000) and Bendigo in Australia (2004). In Bendigo, India finished at the 10th place in the medals tally.

Abhinav Bindra, the first Indian to win an Olympic Gold in an individual event, gave inspiration to the youth in his speech to embrace sports for a fitter and healthier life after he poured the water from all 71 countries to bring alive the Fountain of Youth. The Fountain has been created by the participating countries who brought with them a sappling and water from their countries.

The 17-year-old Kolhapur lad swimmer Virdhawal Khade was given the honour of being the country's flag bearer, while badminton sensation Saina Nehwal took the oath on behalf of about 1300 sportspersons who are taking part in the games.

Speaking on the occasion, the CYG Organising Committee Chairman Suresh Kalmadi, described the Pune games as the stepping stone for better medal prospects at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2012 London Olympics.

Expressing hope and confidence, Kalmadi said the young and budding sportspersons will certainly make the country proud in garnering a bagful of medals in Pune.

Kalmadi also thanked the Punekars and assured of a resounding success at these games.

''We will be making a serious bid in hosting the 2020 Olympic Games in the country after the grand show put up in the twin games being hosted in Asia and the country for the first time,'' he said.

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Michael Fennel, impressed by the state-of-the-art sports facilities created for the games, hoped that the young athletes will break records galore over the next six days.

''The young sportspersons needs to be encouraged so as to bring love and harmony amog the people of the world, he said.'' Among the dignitaries who graced the opening ceremony included Maharashtra Chief Minsiter Vilasrao Deshmukh, Union Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, Union Sports Minister M S Gill and most of the cabinet minister of Maharashtra.


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