President Patil inaugurates 2010 C'wealth Games with Prince Charles

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New Delhi, Oct.3 (ANI): President Pratibha Devisingh Patil and Prince Charles jointly inaugurated the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi on Sunday evening at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the national capital.

The games commenced with President Patil's words: "Let the games begin".

Prior to the formal announcement, Prince Charles, the representative of the Queen, at the ceremony received the Queen's Baton at the Jawarharlal Nehru Stadium, the venue of the opening ceremony.

India's star wrestler Sushil Kumar handed over the Baton to Prince Charles, who then went on to read out the Queen's message.

Prince Charles and President Patil respectively then addressed the people present on the occasion, before making the formal announcement of the beginning of XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi.

To announce the beginning of the Games, the Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, said: "Ladies and Gentlemen, I have much pleasure in declaring the nineteenth Commonwealth Games open."

Also present on this occasion were Prime Minister Dr. Manhmohan Singh with his wife Gursharan Kaur.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, also gave a brief speech on this occasion.

"From all our countrmen, I convey my warm greetings to each member of this august gathering of Commonwealth sporting fraternity. I invite all our guests who have come from every corner of the world to enjoy our hospitality, to enjoy games, to enjoy the incredible sites and sounds of India," said Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

"Millions of people are waiting eagerly to watch this great sporting spectacle unfold," Dr. Singh added.

Earlier, the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games was marked by a multicrore cultural extravaganza, dance, music and fireworks.

It was a magnificent opening that offered a glimpse of India's great heritage and tradition through a light, music and dance show, which led to the opening of the 11-day sporting extravaganza.

The opening ceremony started with the sounding of Conch, meant for an auspicious beginning in India.

Noted playback singer Hari Haran sung the 'Suswagatam', as a packed to capacity J.N.Stadium with a capacity of 60,000 spectators, giving with a big applause.

A rupees 40-crore aerostat, added to the magnificient ambience of the stadium, as it offered an additional novelty to the Sunday's show.

Soon, athletes from the 71 nations of the Commonwealth marched in with pride at the stadium.

The hosts of the previous edition of the Games in 2006 Australia, led the march past followed by other countries in alphabetical order.

The current host India was the last in the march past.

Olympic Gold medallist Abhinav Bindra led the 619-member Indian contingent as the flag-bearer during the opening ceremony.

President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh along with Gursharan Kaur joined everyone in the stadium in giving a standing ovation to the Indian contingent in the march past.

It may be noted that about 6,700 players of 71 countries are participating in the Commonwealth Games this time.

Congress President Sonia Gandhi, Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Krishna Advani, Home Minister P.Chidambaram, External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna and former President A.P.J.Abdul Kalam were among several other most distinguished who's who of the country present on this occasion.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Union Sports Minister M.S.Gill and Organising Committee Chief Suresh Kalmadi were also present.

Prince of Wales, Prince Charles attended the ceremony with his wife Camilla Parker Bowles.

Meanwhile, the unprecedented security arrangement put in place for the Commonwealth Games ceremoney included 100,000 security personnel including 3,000 commandos, and 15 bomb disposal squads.

In addition to that 3,000 close circuit television cameras (CCTVs) have been installed to monitor every activity during the ceremony.

Moreover, the Ministry of Petroleum, ahead of the opening ceremony, announced today to reward any Indian player with Rs.10,00,000 for winning Gold medal, Rs.750,000 for Silver medal, and 500,000 for the Bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games. (ANI)

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