New Delhi: The
Commonwealth Games in Delhi will be rated among the best sporting
events in the world and India has already silenced critics with a
spectacular opening ceremony, top representatives of participating
countries have said.
"We were really concerned about the preparation, especially
because of media reports. But the opening ceremony was
spectacular. I think it was among the best," Uganda's Minister of
State for Sports Charles Bakkabulindi told IANS.
"Since India is a developing country, some people were sceptical -
they questioned its ability to host the Games. But I am sure its
success will showcase India's emergence as a leading player in
world affairs -- in economy, politics and sports," he said.
"India is already leading developing nations on many issues of
global importance. It has shown developing countries can do the
things and they can do them better," said Bakkabulindi, who is
leading a 34-member Ugandan team to the Delhi Commonwealth Games.
Cliff Fuller, New Zealand's trade commissioner to India, agreed,
adding on many aspects he found the opening ceremony and the
overall conduct of the Games better than similar events earlier.
"The opening ceremony gives the impression that It will be the
best ever Commonwealth Games," Fuller said. "New Zealand, I can
say, is quite satisfied with the security and overall arrangements
for the Games."
Michael Carter, the Australian trade commissioner and counsellor-commercial
at the high commission here, said the Games will also go on to
strengthen trade, economic and political ties between India and
"In the end, India has proved it can do things and it can do well.
The opening ceremony was outstanding. We expect very successful
Games," said Carter, in sharp contrast to the carping done by
officials from Australia and New Zealand earlier.
He said the Games would give a major fillip to India-Australia
bilateral trade, that is now pegged at over $20 billion. "Over
400,000 Indians live in Australia. The game will further
strengthen people-to-people contacts - an important thread in our
Zambian Acting High Commissioner to India Allan D. Kalebuka said
his country was pushing India to do more, mainly because he wanted
New Delhi to show the world that developing countries, too, had
the potential to do as well as what the rich nations boast of.
"India has done us proud. Everything has been done so well,"
Kalebuka told IANS.
The 19th edition of the Games is seeing the highest participation,
with more than 7,000 athletes and officials from all the 71 member
countries and territories of the Commonwealth federation.
(Gyanendra Kumar Keshri can be contacted