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Come to Delhi for better Games

Sheila welcomed representatives of all 71 Commonwealth nations and Games officials, writes Indraneel Das.

india Updated: Mar 24, 2006 01:56 IST

As a sitar strummed somewhere in the background, they walked around saying 'namaste', donning a red 'tilak' on the forehead.

Was this the Melbourne Town Hall? It was, but drowned in dholak beats and a dollop of glitterati — sportspeople PT Usha and Michael Ferreira, actor Saif Ali Khan, socialite-social activist Nafisa Ali and yesteryear’s stars Meenakshi Sheshadri and Vinod Khanna. India had arrived. Ready to take the flame home for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said as much at the Indian Gala Night on Thursday evening. “We welcome everyone to Delhi for the 2010 Games,” said Dikshit. “We will definitely hold a better Games. All we need is your support.” The Gala Night was a precursor to the handing-over function at the closing ceremony. Attended by representatives of all 71 Commonwealth nations and Games officials, it also gave a taste of what they could expect four years from now.

Suresh Kalmadi, chairman of the 2010 Commonwealth Games organising committee, said, “We will give a glimpse of India’s culture and heritage in the 11 minutes allotted to us during the closing ceremony and invite athletes to attend the best-ever Games in Delhi.”

Dikshit said Delhi would be ready. “Don’t worry about the infrastructure. Everything will be in place. We have seen it all in Melbourne,” she said. “The Commonwealth Games would be our pride.” Despite rumours of doping doing the rounds, that was one thing to look forward to.