Athletes are preparing to begin the first day of competition at the 2010 Commonwealth Games following a spectacular opening ceremony in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.
Representatives from all 71 competing nations joined in a parade in the stadium during the celebrations, with 2006 hosts Australia leading way.
Prince Charles and Indian president Pratibha Patil announced the Games open to a packed stadium.
However, organising committee chair Suresh Kalmadi was jeered by the crowd during the event.
The build up had seen athletes question the standard of accommodation, while delays in construction, allegations of corruption and fears over security have all posed challenges to organisers.
But there was no sign of the problems last night as 9,000 performers charted both the heritage and present-day experience of India.
Over 9,000 performers took part in the ceremony
Mr Kalmadi was also quick to dismiss fears.
“There have been delays and many challenges but we have managed to rise above them all,” he said during the ceremony.
“Despite the adverse publicity on health, safety, rain and security, all the Commonwealth associations have stood by India as we have put together the biggest Games in Commonwealth history.”
There had been fears competing nations would withdraw from the event over security fears, with a number of nations delaying their departure for Delhi.
Such fears, however, proved unfounded, with all 71 nations in attendance.
The budget of the games has also come under the spotlight, with some estimates stating it may have risen to as much as £3.8 billion.
This is some 60 times higher than the original estimate when the Games were awarded in 2003.
Eight gold medals are up for grabs on the first day of the competition, with swimming offering five, weightlifting two and gymnastics one.
The first gold medal will be decided in the women’s weightlifting 48kg category, which is scheduled to begin later today.
Sandhya Rani Devi Atom and Ngangbam Soniya Chanu will represent India in the event.
The second gold medal will be decided in the men’s 56 kg category.
Out of five gold medals in swimming, two are on offer in the women’s 200 metre freestyle and 200 metre individual medley.
Men will compete in the 400 metre freestyle finals, 200 metre butterfly finals and 4x100 metre freestyle relay.
The last gold medal of the day will be awarded in gymnastics in team competition and individual qualification men’s subdivision two.
World Travel Awards
India will also be celebrating later this month when the World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia Gala Ceremony Ceremony takes place in Delhi.
Taking place at The Claridges Surajkund on October 14th, the event will welcome the leading members of regional tourism industry as they compete to win the most prestigious of prizes.