Spectacular ceremony draws curtain on National Games

Tapan Mohanta

Ranchi, Feb 26 (PTI) A spectacular air show and a musicalextravaganza with a dash of Bollywood marked the closingceremony, which drew curtains on the controversies-ridden 34thNational Games here tonight.

After 14-days of intense competition, Hosts Jharkhand putup a glittering closing ceremony at the athletics venue of theMega Sports Complex, even as country''s top leaders decided togave it a miss tonight.

After Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union sportsminister Ajay Maken too skipped the ceremony at the lastminute, apparently due to beleaguered IOA chief SureshKamadi''s veiled attack on the sports ministry.

In absence of the top politicos, Kalmadi "declared theNational Games close" as the political overtones dogged theclosing ceremony.

Indirectly taking a dig at the political heads, Kalmadiquipped, "I''m not going to give anymore bhasan (speech).

Enough of bhasan has already been given," as he went on to"declare the Games close."

With smiles and loud cheers all around, the spectacularceremony lived up to the expectation at the jam-packed BirsaMunda Athletics Stadium in Mega Sports Complex in theoutskirts of the city.

The best of the ceremony was preserved for the last partas Bollywood heartthrob Katrina Kaif danced to hit numbersthat brought the entire atmosphere alive.

The four-hour long closing ceremony left an indelibleimpression on the people of Jharkhand.

"It was a lifetime experience for me. Right from the airshow to the item numbers, it really made us proud of thestate. I have never seen such a programme and I''m sureeverybody liked it," Amit Kumar Jha, an enthralled volunteer,said.

The ceremony came as a balm for the Jharkhand OlympicAssociation who had received all the brickbats for thetumultuous build-up that had witnessed six postponements and adelay of four years after Guwahati hosted the previous editionin 2007.

Divided into a total of five segments, the four-hour longclosing ceremony began with a spectacular air show by theairforce who enthralled the audience with some breathtakingperformances over the stadium.

About an hour''s slot was allotted to the formal part ofthe show that saw arrival of the dignitaries, formal speechesand announcement of the closing as the torch was put off andthe Games flag was handed over to the representatives ofKerala, the hosts of the next Games. .

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