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India can host C'wealth, Olympic Games: Kalam

India's bid to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games got a boost when President A P J Abdul Kalam said the country had graduated to host bigger events.

othersports Updated: Nov 01, 2003 23:12 IST

India's bid to host the 2010 Commonwealth Games got a boost on Saturday when President A P J Abdul Kalam said the country had graduated to host bigger events.

"India has graduated to hold bigger events like Commonwealth Games and Olympics," said Kalam, who declared the Games closed.

He said the Afro-Asian Games had "created beautiful environment which led to creativity and in turn to high performances."

The Government was committed to the development of sports, Union Sports Minister Vikram Verma said, adding he hoped the country would get to host the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

But the most assertive declaration came from the man who was the key behind the smooth conduct of the jinxed games -- Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

Describing the Games as a big sucess, he said Hyderabad had become not only the sports capital of India but also that of the sub-continent by hosting the nine-day meet and the National Games last year.

Raising his voice to assert that Hyderabad can even host the Commonwealth Games and the 2016 Olympics, he had the 30,000-strong specators responding with a big "yes" when he asked them whether they thought the same.

He had a special word for emerging tennis star Sania Mirza for having won four golds and pointed out that besides her there were a couple of yellow metal winners from the state.

"With the infrasructure we have created now, we will train more more and sportspersons so that the state would win more medals in future international events."

Congratualting all the athletes, he made a special mention of disabled South African swimmer Natalie Du Toit, who created a splash in the pool winning three medals.

Earlier, Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi said "the successful conduct of the games had proved we are capable of organising major international meets.

"I hope all foreign dignitaries here would have noted that India can do it and we look forward to your support," he added.

First Published: Nov 01, 2003 23:12 IST