London/Melbourne: “India has arrived” — this summed up the international media comments on the dazzling opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi on October 3.
Newspapers in two major Commonwealth countries, Australia and Great Britain, used terms like “An ancient land opens its heart to the world,” to describe the two-hour cultural extravaganza that unfolded at the Jawahar Lal Nehru Stadium on October 3 night.
The Guardian newspaper said it was a moment of national pride for India, which had drawn flak for the troubled build-up to the Games.
The Daily Mail was also effusive in its praise of the ceremony which showcased the centuries-old Indian culture to a packed crowd.
“Commonwealth Games kicked off in style with stunning opening ceremony… but the real test lies ahead,” the newspaper said.
“India put on its best face on October 3 night and pulled off a brilliant opening ceremony that was extraordinary in its ambition and execution. It was everything the organizers had promised and more — an energetic celebration of all India has been and all it intends to be,” read The Daily Telegraph.
“Delhi’s extravaganza more than favorably compared with the great opening ceremonies of recent times,” it added.
The Sydney Morning Herald said the ceremony was well beyond what could have been expected after the shoddy build-up.
“Delhi’s Commonwealth Games has managed yet another surprise, with the opening ceremony defying expectations last night to start on time before going off without a hitch to delight a crowd of 50,000 with a rich and exciting pageant befitting a country as vast and populous as India,” the newspaper said.
“A vibrant celebration of 5000 years of Indian culture — with just a hint of Bollywood — was showcased in a performance involving more than 6000 artists. There were no visible glitches. India delivered, and all 71 nations took part in the march despite threats by some countries to pull out,” it added. The newspaper also lauded the sartorial sense of the 619-strong Indian contingent that walked into the stadium in traditional dresses.
“India has won the first unofficial gold medal of the Games — for best team uniform,” it said.