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Colour and gaiety mark CWG opening ceremony

A general view of a light projection during the Opening Ceremony for the 2018 Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium on April 4, 2018 on the Gold Coast in Australia.  

The storm which crossed the Carrara Stadium in the early part notwithstanding, the Opening Ceremony of the XXI Commonwealth Games on Wednesday night was painted with colour and gaiety and well received by a packed house of 35,000 and around 1.5 billion television viewers worldwide.

The pageant, lasting well over three hours, showcased the Australian tradition and culture in all its glory. Credit should be given to its director David Zolkwer, who had been at the helm of the Glasgow opener too.

Zolkwer, known to use non-traditional ways to create a lasting impact, however, did not stray much and stuck to the basics, conceiving a programme that suited the hour and put it in place with near perfection on a platform which never resembled a play-field.

As usual, the whole show was divided into three parts — the opening sequence marking the final countdown which was mostly musical, the official sports protocol and the finale which again turned to be a mix of music, dance and technology.

In between, there was also an attempt to bring in the Australian society and its usual day-to-day activities, as in the case of surfing, which is popular in this part of the world.

The sports protocol went on established lines and began with the arrival of Prince Charles, accompanied by wife Camilla, who in a brief address said, “These are rare opportunities to be so symbolically connected in this way and these Games provide one such chance to reflect on the ideals and ambitions which bring us together as one Commonwealth family.

“It reminds us that we may be far away from each other in distance, but we are close in spirit, values and friendship.”

CGF president Louise Martin also reflected on the importance of the Commonwealth and the inclusive nature of these Games as the participating teams trooped in, behind their respective flags and with a nipper leading them into the arena.

India was led by badminton star P.V. Sindhu with all the athletes and officials clad in the new outfit designed for the team by the Indian Olympic Association.

Loud cheers

The loudest cheers, naturally, was reserved for the Australians with everyone in the stadium rising as one to welcome for the host

The CGF flag was solemnly led to the stadium before the oath was taken by an athlete, a coach and a technical official together on behalf of all the participants and marking the arrival of the Queen’s baton after its odyssey of 338 days.

Sally Pearson was given the honour of handing it over to the CGF president, who in turn handed it over to Prince Charles who read out the message inscribed by the Queen, “At the start of the Games, I have in my heart the courage and determination that each athlete takes part in this friendly Games,” and the official announcement of the Games being declared open.

The night was to remain young for several minutes thereafter until the curtain was brought down in front of an appreciable audience.

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