The brilliant show over the last 12 days, portrayed in full by the dreams and aspirations of the youth within the Commonwealth, passed in to the recess of history as the biggest ever Commonwealth Games came to a close here on Thursday evening in an atmosphere marked with relaxed friendship, camaraderie and colourful festivity.

And finally as the curtain of the quadrennial extravaganza, held in Asia for the second time, was rung down at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, there was a tear in almost every eye as the nearly 7000 participants bid goodbye to the National capital with a heavy heart.

When compared to the October 3 opening ceremony, which was marked with both glitz and glamour, the grand finale would have fallen short of expectations.

Exhilarating

But nevertheless, there was still a variety of dances, exhilarating music and warmth in every segment, carefully crafted for the evening.

The mood of the occasion, however, often criss-crossed the expected boundaries as the 60,000 crowd got involved, lustily cheering and encouraging the artistes with standing ovations.

The ceremony got to its official business with the arrival of dignitaries including the Vice President, M. Hamid Ansari, Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward, the UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi and the CGF president, Michael Fennell.

The solemnity of the occasion was also marked by the rendering of the National anthem and the tricolours fluttering in the giant aerostat, which was re-erected for the day's proceedings.

And straightaway, the table was laid out with the opening segment labelled Agni, featuring the fiery and passionate traditions of Indian martial arts; some of them having originated more than 3000 years ago.

There was no shortage of entertainment as the artistes of eight martial forms — Kalaripayattu, Naga Warriors, Thang-Ta, Gatka, Silambam, Akhada, Dhan Patta and Talwaar Raas — set the tone and tenor of the celebrations with their dexterity and skillfulness.

The display of the Military band, which took centre-stage thereafter, too was simply a standout affair as it regaled the audience with the rendering of popular patriotic songs including “Sare Jahan Se Acha” which served to lift the spirits of the entire gathering.

The tempo was further driven to a crescendo as school children served out the main offering of the day — captivating the crowd and leaving them speechless — with a flawless display to the tune of the National song, Vande Mataram. A tribute to the motherland it definitely was as the 2010 participants wove patterns in rangoli fashion and then continued to form the Ashoka Chakra exactly in the middle of the field.

Quite naturally, the crowd was driven to a world of delirium and even as the ambience remained electrifying, there was no hesitation on the part of the audience to provide a standing ovation to the athletes — the real heroes of the Games — as they trouped in through a jumbled march past.

This marked the commencement of the protocol part of the evening, with Shera, the mascot of the Games, bidding goodbye. The Organising Committee chairman, Suresh Kalmadi, was jeered once again as he delivered a formal welcome, leading to the handing over of the CGF flag to the next host city of the Games by the Delhi Lt.Governor, Tejinder Khanna..

It was received by chairman of the Glasgow 2014 OC chairman, the Lord Smith of Kelvin. This was followed by a presentation of Glasgow OC.

Memorable affair

The stage was finally set for the official closing of the Games, and Mr. Fennell in his address said that the Games had captured the attention of the world before acknowledging that Delhi 2010 has been a truly memorable affair.

“Delhi, you have delivered a truly exceptional Games. Thank you Delhi,” he said. Jamaican triple jumper and gold medallist Trecia Smith was awarded the David Dixon award for being the best athlete of the Games before Prince Edward officially announced the closing of the Games.

The highlight of the post-protocol events was a laser show and the musical gala featuring a host of noted singers. The grand spectacle as it drew to a close also saw the Delhi skies being lit up by some spectacular fireworks. The air, filled with clouds of smoke, was also soaked with a tinge of sadness. Goodbye Delhi!

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