Spectacular ceremony opens Commonwealth Games
The Commonwealth Games opened tonight with a spectacular ceremony that heralded 11 days of competitive action at one of the world's biggest sporting events.
After weeks of setbacks that threatened the attraction itself the Indian authorities staged a cultural show of flair, imagination and excitement in Delhi watched by a global audience of millions.
The Prince of Wales joined India's president Pratibha Patil at the opening ceremony that welcomed many of the 6,000 sportsmen and women from across the Commonwealth taking part.
The 'Friendly Games' begin in earnest tomorrow and the first day will see double Olympic swimming champion Rebecca Adlington battling for one of the eight gold medals up for grabs on the day.
Her appearance is an exception as many notable names in world sport have chosen to either overlook the event or have withdrawn through injury but reigning World 10-metre platform diving champion Tom Daley has made the trip to India.
The Indian authorities have put in place almost unprecedented levels of security for a sporting event, with around 30,000 police deployed at the 41 Games venues reinforced by thousands of troops.
An audience of almost 60,000 had to negotiate stringent airport style checks where bottles of water, food and even mosquito sprays - in a city where insect borne dengue fever has broken out - were confiscated before they were allowed to their seats to watch the ceremony.
The two and a half hour spectacular saw a £5.5 million helium filled airship - said to be world's largest - float above the crowds in the humid night air as iconic images of India's founding father Gandhi, the famous Taj Mahal mausoleum and Buddha were screened on to it as well as other pictures.
During the show five thousand years of India's cultural history were depicted in seven acts that used music, dance, and light to tell the story in the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in Delhi.
Highlights from the event saw almost a thousand drummers from across the Asian country beat out a deafening rhythm and dazzling puppets from Rajasthan dance for the audience.
The 71 teams taking part ranged from tiny islands to enormous countries, and each paraded into the stadium behind their flag with badminton player Nathan Robertson given the honour of holding the standard of St George for England.
Amongst the competitors in England's team is disabled archer Danielle Brown, 26, from Lothersdale in North Yorkshire who suffers from a neurological condition which affects her lower limbs and will become the first Paralympian to represent England in an able-bodied event.
England's oldest competitor Mick Gault, 56, is a shooting specialist who is hoping to break the record for the biggest haul of Commonwealth medals.
He has 15 and is taking part in eight events at the Games and needs just four podium finishes to pass the previous milestone.
Latest in Sport
Chelsea vs Manchester United player ratings: Match-winner Eden Hazard leads the way, but Radamel Falcao endures game to forget
Chelsea 1 Manchester United 0: Eight things we learnt as Blues step closer to the Premier League title
Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao: Where are the tickets for the fight?
Chelsea transfer news: Jose Mourinho plays down news signings Nathan and Yoshinori Muto but talks up Ruben Loftus-Cheek
Arsenal transfer news: Mikel Arteta needs 'five minutes' to sign new contract and remain with the Gunners
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...