Dominant India brings curtain down on South Asian Games

The closing ceremony here at the India Gandhi Stadium on Tuesday brought curtains on 12 days of competition that saw action in 22 disciplines – 15 in Guwahati and seven in Shillong – and the awarding of 789 medals to athletes representing the eight participating nations.

Artists perform at the closing ceremony of 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati.   -  K MURALI KUMAR

Singer Shaan performes at the closing ceramony of 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati.   -  K MURALI KUMAR

The closing ceremony of 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati.   -  K MURALI KUMAR

Indian contingent marches past at the closing ceremony of the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati.   -  PTI

Nepal Olympic committee president Satya Narayan Mandal (M) and Working committee president Jibanram Sharestsa (L) hold the South Asian Games flag after it was handed over by the Indian Olympic Association president N Ramachandran (second from right) as Indian Union Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal (R) looks on at the closing ceremony of the 12th South Asian Games in Guwahati.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

The 12th South Asian Games that introduced the Indian North-East to its first multi-discipline international event was accorded a valediction in the true spirit of the region’s variegated cultural heritage. The closing ceremony here at the India Gandhi Stadium on Tuesday brought curtains on 12 days of competition that saw action in 22 disciplines – 15 in Guwahati and seven in Shillong – and the awarding of 789 medals to athletes representing the eight participating nations.

Nepal was introduced as the host of the 13th edition of the Games in 2018 and the flag of the Games was ceremoniously handed over to Jeevan Ram Shreshtha, the president of the organising committee of SAG, Nepal by the Indian Olympic Association president N. Ramachandran.

Taking a break from the tradition, the celebrations started almost three hours early from the scheduled time. Bands and singers from the Eight Sisters – the sobriquet given to the group of eight states Sikkim, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur – performed in turns as the stadium filled up to its capacity. The enthusiasm shown by the people in making the closing ceremony a packed show was remarkable.

The jumbled march-past kept the host and the winner of the most medals (308), India, in the lead as according to the long-standing Olympic tradition the flags of all the participating nations were matched together in a single group. The march-past also included the hundreds of volunteers picked up from various educational institutions from around the city, who released tri-coloured gas balloons signifying brotherhood and camaraderie.

Unlike the opening ceremony which was smartly presented in a medley of carefully arranged cultural performances, the closing ceremony somewhat failed to repeat the natty arrangement in the presentation. There were performances from various groups of different states of the region including some local stars like Priyanka Bhorali, Mausam Gogoi and pop icon Lou Majaw from neighbouring Shillong, who enthralled the crowd. There were also performances by Nepali artists as the future host of the games and rendition from Mayukh Hazarika and the Bramhaputra Balladiers. Bollywood singer Shaan concluded the more then three hour long ceremony belting out some popular numbers from collection.