Controversy-hit aerostat lights up Games ceremony

The star attraction of Commonwealth Games opening ceremony was the  R70 crore aerostat — a helium-filled balloon.

However, it was greeted by controversies from the day the idea to have it was floated.
Without any glitch, at 7 p.m. sharp, the aerostat was lit up and lifted from the centre of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium amidst a thundering applause.

The aerostat is said to be the biggest helium balloon in the world. The Games Organising Committee (OC) officials said that it is being used for the first time at an entertainment event. It was suspended 25 metres above the ground. Cameras were also set on it to provide a 360-degree viewing experience with laser projections.

Manufactured by Per Lindstrand and designed by Mark Fisher, it has an underbelly that reflects lighting on the field of play. It was assembled in Liverpool, UK.

The aerostat has been mired in controversy from the beginning. The OC had initially planned of sending up drummers on the aerostat who would rise slowly above the stadium.
But it was shelved to cut cost.

Additionally, two key consultants hired by the OC to oversee the creative aspects related to the ceremonies also quit. Even after it was installed, some technical glitches were reported. So much so that the OC was asked to keep an alternative plan in case there are difficulties in keeping the aerostat afloat.


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