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 said.
"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 Australia.
"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 relations."
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 said.
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.