2010 Commonwealth Games

Review Date: 04 Oct 2010

by Ursula Brown - Managing Editor

2010 Commonwealth Games got under way with the official opening ceremony at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Sunday 3 Oct 2010. Cameron van den Burgh lead Team SA into the stadium at the start 19th Commonwealth Games during the spectacular Bollywood-style three-hour collage, a pageant of song, dance, pyrotechnics, delivered flawlessly by a cast of thousands beneath worlds largest helium balloon.

Preparations for $6-billion "friendly games" had been marred by a series of setbacks to Indias ambition of showing off its growing financial clout by hosting its biggest sporting event for nearly three decades. Organisers hope to put all that behind them over the next 11 days of sporting competition between mostly former British colonies.The huge security operation around the stadium was a reminder of the safety concerns that kept some athletes away and there was also a diplomatic compromise over who should open the Games.

Britain's Prince Charles, who was greeted with chants of "India! India!", read out a message from his mother Queen Elizabeth, the head of the Commonwealth, but India's President Pratibha Patil was also given a prominent role.The Prince paused before delivering the message which had travelled in the Queen's Baton relay from London on a 190,000-km journey through the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth.

Seventy one nations marched on to the field at opening ceremony.The huge Indian team looked resplendent in maroon and gold traditional dress, while Scottish team stuck with kilts.South Africa athletes marched in blowing vuvuleza's, led by a team conductor.

Team South Africa - in particular defending champion swimming superstars, are ready to rumble. South African swimmer Natalie du Toit, named Outstanding Athlete of the Games in Manchester in 2002, competes in her third Commonwealth Games. It seems that certain SA Team members "missed their flights" and "went AWOL" after collecting their togs.

President Patil then gave her own address, concluding by saying, to huge cheers from the 60,000 crowd in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, "The Commonwealth Games now really are open, let the Games begin."

Chad le Clos won South Africa’s first Games Gold with a CWG record in the 200 metres butterfly. And the Kwazulu-Natal teenager added a bronze when the South African 4 x 100 metres freestyle were pipped by England. Australia won comfortably in a Games Record. Le Clos swam the early heat in place of veteran Roland Schoeman who impressed with his swim in the final.

Dates 3 - 14 Oct 2010