After a controversy-marred build-up and negative publicity, the Commonwealth Games set a historic landmark of being the biggest-ever in terms of participatants with more than 6700 athletes and officials confirming their entries for the event New Delhi on Friday.
With just one day left for the opening ceremony, Delhi will now be known to have hosted the biggest Games surpassing participation in Melbourne four years ago which stood at 5766 athletes and officials.
As the organisers, who were drawing flak for the shoddy preparations and an under-prepared Games Village, raced against time to provide the finishing touches, New Zealand tennis player Ellen Barry became the latest to pull out citing security concerns.
"After the completion of the Delegation Registration Meetings, we can say that more than 6700 athletes and team officials will be taking part in Delhi 2010," Organising Committee Secretary-General Lalit K Bhanot said.
"More than 5800 athletes and officials have already arrived in Delhi. With more arrivals scheduled in the coming days, Delhi 2010 is well on the way to becoming the biggest in history," Bhanot said.
"We are now looking forward to the successful and smooth delivery of the Games." Over 1300 of these checked into the Games Village today. The Games will further get a boost with the scheduled arrival of International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge later tonight along with a host of other top officials and dignitaries.
The Indian contingent was in the spotlight at the Games Village where they hoisted the tri-colour amid cheers from scores of volunteers and athletes. Olympic gold-medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra was named the host country's flagbearer for the opening ceremony. The 28-year-old rifle marksman will lead a jumbo 619-member contingent -- 379 men and 240 women -- in the grand ceremony scheduled to be held at the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium.