CWG 2018: Colour, gaiety mark opening spectacle

India was led by its badminton superstar, P. V. Sindhu, with all the athletes and officials clad in the new outfits designed for the team by the Indian Olympic Association.

A general view during the Opening Ceremony of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Carrara Stadium on April 4.   -  Getty Images

The storm which crossed over the Carrara stadium in its early part notwithstanding, the opening gala of the XXI Commonwealth Games here on Wednesday night was one which was painted with colour and gaiety and received well by a packed house of 35,000 and around 1.5 billion television supporters worldwide.

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The pageant, lasting well over three hours, was one which showcased the Australian tradition and culture in all its glory, even as credit should be given to its director, David Zolkwer, who had been at the helm of the Glasgow opener, too. Zolkwer, who is known to use untraditional ways to create a lasting impact, however, did not stray away much tonight. He stuck to the basics, conceiving a programme that suited the hour and put it in place with near perfection on a platform which never resembled a playfield.

From left: Prince Charles along with other dignitaries at the Opening Ceremony.   -  Getty Images

 

As is usual in this kind of an exercise, the whole show was divided into three parts — the opening sequence marking the final countdown which remained mostly musical, the official sports protocol and the finale which again turned to be a mix of music, dance and technology in good measure. In between, there was also this attempt to bring in the Australian society and its usual day-to-day activities, as in the case of surfing, which is a much popular sport in this part of the world.

There was little alteration to the sports protocol which went on established lines and a start to this was made on the arrival of Prince Charles, accompanied by his wife, Camilla.In a brief address, Prince Charles said, “These are rare opportunities to be so symbolically connected in this way, and these Games provide one such chance to
reflect on the ideals and ambitions which bring us together as one Commonwealth family. It reminds us that we may be far away from each other in distance, but we are close in spirit, values and friendship.”

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The CGF president, Louise Martin, speaking on the occasion also reflected on the importance of the Commonwealth and the inclusive nature of these Games once the participating teams trooped in, behind their respective flags and with a nipper leading them into the arena.

India was led by its badminton superstar, P. V. Sindhu, with all the athletes and officials clad in the new outfits designed for the team by the Indian Olympic Association.

Badminton star P. V. Sindhu leading the Indian contingent.   -  Getty Images

 

The loudest cheers, naturally, were reserved for the host Australians what with all those in the stadium rising as one to welcome the home side. The CGF flag was solemnly led to the stadium next, before the oath was taken by an athlete, a coach and a technical official together on behalf of all the participants, marking the arrival of the Queen’s baton, after its odyssey of 338 days covering a whopping distance of 2,35,000 km.

The home-grown Sally Pearson was given the honour of handing it over to the CGF president, who, in turn, handed it over to Prince Charles who read out the message inscribed by the Queen, “As the start of the Games, I have in my heart the courage and determination that each athlete takes part in this friendly Games,” and the official
announcement of the Games being declared open.

The night remained young for several minutes thereafter until the curtain was brought down in front of an appreciable audience.