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Her appearance is an exception as many notable names in world sport have chosen to either overlook the event or have withdrawn through injury but reigning World 10-metre platform diving champion Tom Daley has made the trip to India.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.

Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor