The opening ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games in New Delhi has drawn unparalleled applause from across the world by overhauling fears of chaos with a ‘spectacular’ event.
In front of a 65,000-strong audience at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, the event showcased a vibrant celebration of 5000 years of Indian culture.
The event has also been well appreciated by international media, which had been criticising the lead-up of the Games plagued by terror threats, a bridge collapse, a shambolic athletes’ village and the first case of dengue fever.
“Spectacular start for Commonwealth Games,” The Telegraph said.
“An ancient land opens its heart to the world,” The Sydney Morning Herald said in its headline.
“Commonwealth Games kick off in style with stunning opening ceremony,” The Daily Mail said.
The Telegraph also acknowledged that “once inside the stadium, the crowd was treated to a once in a lifetime performance that started on time and went without a hitch”.
The glory went to the 7,000 performers, who top-and-tailed the athletes’ parade and the speeches in a three-hour show, but the centrepiece of the evening was identified as the 5.5 million pound aerostat, the world’s biggest helium balloon.
Over 2700 fireworks were provided by Victorian company Howard and Sons, which were launched from 88 spots around the stadium roof.
Meanwhile, under its headline “Commonwealth Games make spectacular start”, the Herald Sun said: “From the first appearance of the aerostat to the final bars of composer AR Rahman’s Oscar-winning Jai Ho, this was a foot-tapping, hand-clapping, jaw-dropping performance the equal of anything we have ever seen.”