Curtains down on CYG; Kalmadi promises to bring Olympics to Pune

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Pune, Oct 18 (UNI) The curtains on the third Commonwealth Youth Games were brought down today after a week of intense competition and aggresiveness had mellowed down to sublime emotion, with Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) chief Michael Fennel formally announcing the Games closed at a colourful ceremony this evening.

For some it brought ample joy and to some others it turned into frustration and disappointment as the closing ceremony of the Games ended with a fascinating show that vividly brought out the creativity and vibrancy of Indian civilisation this evening.

It was a memorable and proud moment to be cherished for a long time as the Indian contingent swept all opposition to end on top of the medals tally capturing a total of 76 medals (33 gold, 26 silver, and 17 bronze).

It was a night to remember for hundreds of athletes from 71 countries and thousands of people watched as this historic city organised a farewell that aptly went with the spirit of ''You and Me from the One World, Heart to Heart we are one Family.'' Speaking on the occasion, the CYG Organising Committee Chairman who is also the President of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) Suresh Kalmadi, described the Pune games as the stepping stone for better medal prospects at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and the 2012 London Olympics.

He also said with the successful hosting of these games, he has no doubt about Pune being an ideal choice for the 2020 Olympics for which India is making a serious bid.

''The hosting of the games in Pune, to be followed by the Delhi Commonwealth Games to be held in 2010 has showcased that the country now is on the anvil to hosts the first ever Olympic Games in 2020,'' he said.

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

''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.

Kalmadi handed over 'Quaich' to Quail, tourism minister of the Isle of Man which will be hosing the next edition of the games.

Bidding adieu to Pune, Fennel announced that the Commonwealth Youth Games will meet again in the Isle of Man in 2011.

A flag exchange ceremony also was enacted at the main athletic stadium.

Famed guittarist Ambi Subramanim played the national anthem to herald the closing ceremony.

Hosts India, fielding the largest 154-member contingent, ruled the roost to reap in 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.

Australia who topped the medals tall at Bendigo was placed second with 24 gold, 19 silver and 23 bronze, while England clinched the third spot mustering 18 gold, 9 silver and 14 bronze.

Addressing a large gathering, Union Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar was all praise for the hosting of the games in Pune which has showed the world that India is now ready to host the world's biggest sporting extravaganza the 'Olympic Games' in the near future.

The former BCCI President, who will be taking over as the President of the International Cricket Council (ICC) shortly, said that after Sachin became the highest scorer in the world, the youthful sportspersons of India also stamped their authority establishing the fact that they will keep the tricolousr flying high in the arena of sports at the highest level in the years to come.

The excellent infra-structure facilities thus created should be used well all round the year to enhance their performance to put the country in the top sporting nations of the world.

''The recent example of China who showed the world that they have arrived with the Beijing Olympics, these Games have shown that India has also has arrived,'' Pawar said.

Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Michael Fennel, impressed by the state-of-the-art sports facilities created for the games, said the young athletes of India have displayed that they could compte with any nation and come out on top as shown by the bagging of the highest number of medals in these games.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said the state of the art sports facility thus created would be utilised in every way by holding international competitions. He also said the Government of Maharashtra would stick to its promise of honouring sportspersons from Maharashtra who are among the medals - 11 of them wll be awarded Rs 10 lakhs for gold Rs 7 lakhs for the silver and Rs 5 lakhs for bronze medals.

The cash awards will be given to the successful sportspersons at a grand function to be held in Mumbai.

''The young sportspersons needs to be encouraged so as to bring love and harmony amog the people of the world,'' he said.

Former president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Sharad Pawar was the guest of honour on the occasion. Pawar also released a stamp of 'Shera' the mascot of the 2010 Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi by unveiling a plaque at the stadium.

The other dignitaries present on the occasion included Maharashtra Chief Minsiter Vilasrao Deshmukh, and his cabinet colleagues and Commonwealth Seretary General Kamlesh Sharma among others.

UNI IS/GS AB RAI2133

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