Country’s premier event draws to a close

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Ranchi: After a fortnight-long intense sporting action, the curtain was rung down on the 34th National Games at the Birsa Munda Athletics Stadium at Mega Sports Complex here on February 26 with a sprightly and colorful closing ceremony.

The five-hour program, watched by a capacity crowd at Hotwar, brought to an end to one of the biggest and well-attended games in which competitions were held in 33 disciplines in three cities of Jharkhand.

At the end of it all, Services emerged as the best sporting unit with a whopping haul of 70 gold, 50 silver and 42 bronze medals for a total of 162, a tally that surpassed its previous best of 59-46-37 achieved at the last Games in 2007.

The ceremony began with a glider making sorties over the Stadium at 4.45 p.m. This was followed by the performance of the Army band. After the dignitaries arrived, nine sky divers from Indian Air Force led by Wing Commander Vasant Raj dropped down from the sky and landed inside the stadium to the lusty cheers from the crowd. The athletes, led by medal table topper Services followed by Manipur, trooped in to the accompaniment of the military band.

In a most poignant moment, the sacred flame was put out marking the end of the games and the festivities associated with them. To lift up the sagging spirit, the cultural program took the center stage with a tribal musical ensemble and an audio-visual presentation.

The folk artists from Manipur along with Punjab’s Bhangra performers took over to captivate the audience. A special show Bidaai (farewell), a song and dance tribute to commemorate the victory after hurdles and challenges was performed to thank Mother Nature.

Over 170 dancers and performers from Kerala showcased the state’s rich cultural heritage by performing Kalaripayattu, Kathakali, Mohiniattam and finally captivated the audience with the Shingarimelam and Kerala horns.

Famous singer Shaan and actress Katrina Kaif came on the stage to regale the audience and the ceremony concluded with laser show and fireworks.

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