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Bidding adieu to the participants of the XIX Commonwealth Games 2010 Delhi, Organising Committee Delhi 2010 Chairman Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, MP, said, “The sporting extravaganza is ending but I am sure the after taste will linger for a long time. Delhi 2010, which captured the imagination of India and the world for almost two weeks, is drawing to a close. But this is not the end. In fact, it is just the beginning.”
“For the athletes, it has been a life-changing experience. For India, it has been a new beginning in sport. For the world, it has been evidence of what India can do at the sporting stage. This is a new era for Indian sport, our athletes and our sports loving people who embraced the Games as their own. All this made it what it turned out to be – the largest and one of the most enjoyable Games ever,” he said.
The chairman was all-praise Indian contingent that gave India its first ever three-digit finish in the medals tally at number two, behind the Games’ giants Australia. “The Indian contingent finished second by not only winning more Gold than in any Commonwealth Games but also doubling the medals tally from the last time and finishing with 101 medals. By winning medals in 12 disciplines, India made a statement to the world that our sport in on the march. There was a great show of national pride each time the Indian flag went up and the National Anthem was played at a victory ceremony. And when three Indian flags were hoisted together after the women swept gold, silver and bronze medals in discus throw, we created the ultimate Chak De! Thanks to the Indian contingent’s showing in the Commonwealth Games, we now have the opportunity to make sport central to Indian life. I would like to congratulate the athletes, their coaches, support staff and their National Federations for making this possible.”
Mr. Kalmadi thanked all the visiting athletes and other participants for their support, saying, “We were rewarded when athletes from all the 71 nations and territories turned up for the biggest celebration of sport in India. All of them came as friends and will now return as family. Many won repeat medals and new champions were born. Over 75 Commonwealth Games records were broken in Delhi. Many athletes have told me that the Games Village is the best they have been to.”
He acknowledged the selfless service of Delhi 2010 volunteers and workforce. “I am immensely proud of the Organising Committee’s 4000-strong workforce, including the senior management, for its collective ability to keep the chin up under the most trying circumstances. It is admirable indeed that we stuck together in the amazing journey in the face of a series of roadblocks that surfaced frequently. We have learnt a lot and we continue to learn. To Delhi United, the army of 22,000 volunteers, I would like to say that you have been fabulous. Each one of you is a living example of the legendary hospitality that India extends to its guests. Special thanks are also in order for the volunteers of Sahara India Pariwar for their untiring efforts. ”
Recognising the services of Indian Military and the workers, he said, “The Defence forces have been a big part of every aspect of the Games… Delhi 2010 and India salutes you! I must make special mention of the thousands of construction workers who got the facilities ready.”
“I must place on record the continuous guidance and involvement of the Commonwealth Games Federation, especially its President Mr. Michael Fennell and his team, the Indian Olympic Association and the Organising Committee’s Executive Board. Thank you for the faith and support,” he added.
Delhiites found a special mention in Chairman’s speech as he concluded his speech saying, “To the city of Delhi which celebrated the Games like it were a national festival, I will say thank you. You have been remarkable as the host, showing patience when facilities were being upgraded. You have made the Games and the world will remember you for it. To the proud citizens of India, Thank you, Delhi! Thank you, India!”