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Mr. Kalmadi: “It is our tryst with destiny... yet again”

DELHI: In his address, after the Athletes Parade, at the Opening Ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi, Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, Chairman of the Organising Committee, acknowledged the dedicated efforts of all stakeholders, the volunteers and the many performers, especially children, who contributed towards making the ceremony a truly spectacular event.

Pointing out that a sporting event of such magnitude and scale was being held in India after 28 years and that it was the first Green Games in the history of the Commonwealth Games, he expressed confidence that one of the objectives of hosting a Games -- to regenerate the socio-economic landscape – would be fulfilled. “We expect the Commonwealth Games to contribute significantly to our economy,” he said.

Mr. Kalmadi expressed pride in the dedication of his team at the Organising Committee, which overcome many hurdles to ensure that the Games are conducted efficiently and smoothly. He thanked Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and Chairperson, United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Mrs. Sonia Gandhi for their constant support.

Mr. Kalmadi added, “Despite the adverse publicity about security, health, infrastructure and heavy rain, all Commonwealth Games Associations have stood by India as Delhi 2010 becomes the largest ever in the history of the Commonwealth Games. More than 6,800 athletes and team officials from all the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth have showcased their faith in India by confirming their participation.”

He expressed his admiration of the people of Delhi, who, he said, had shown great patience while the city’s facilities were being upgraded. “A fantastic legacy has been created for Delhi and India in terms of world class facilities like a superb airport, Metro Rail across Delhi and much else. I am sure Delhi will be an impeccable host and prove that it is now, well and truly, a world class city and a great tourist destination,” he said.

His message to the athletes taking part in the Games was: “We have designed these Games around you. Be it the Games Village or the competition venues, the facilities have all been created with you in mind. You have told me over the past week that you are enjoying the stay in the Village and it is better than many that you have been to. I have always believed that while you would come to Delhi as friends, you will return as family.”

He concluded his speech with India’s greatest statesman, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s words: “It is our tryst with destiny .. yet again!”.