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THE 63rd REPUBLIC DAY R-DAY IN PICTURES
Western media salutes Games opener

Toronto/London/Melbourne, Oct 5 The bright dancing lights, loud drums and the pageantry at the Commonwealth Games inaugural has dazzled the West, with its media speaking glowingly about the colourful extravaganza.

Newspapers and sports writers, including those who had questioned India's ability to hold the Games, saluted the three-hour show at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the heart of New Delhi as one of the best they have seen, anywhere.

The Canadian media called the ceremonies "pitch-perfect" and a "showcase for (India's) emergence as a global force".

Writing in Canada's biggest newspaper Toronto Star, sports writer Randy Starkman said: "The ceremonies were a real treat and my favourite moment was when the image of (Mahatma) Gandhi appeared on the scene, a vision of serenity amid what has mostly been chaos until now.

"I have to say I have been impressed so far by the incredible friendliness and helpfulness of the volunteers in trying to make this work. It was an evening to celebrate India's ancient music and dance, its dazzling modern technology..."

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp, the country's biggest broadcaster, said the Games opened in "grand style with elements that moved from ancient to modern-day".

The Australian media described the gala opening as a "kaleidoscope of music, movement and colour" that gave a "spectacular start" to the October 3-14 sporting event.

"An ancient land opens its heart to the world," the Sydney Morning Herald said, describing the start of the event as a display of "rich and exciting pageant befitting a country as vast and populous as India".

A 300 metre-long series of tableau sashayed the "riot of life that exists within and around an Indian train".

Some of these newspapers had until now been highly critical of India following reports of poor and shoddy construction at the sprawling Games Village where nearly 7,000 athletes and officials from the Commonwealth world are staying.

After weeks dominated by reports of chaos, the new "Incredible India" of diversity and cultural pride showed its face, wrote The Australian.

And if the crowd of over 50,000 at "Delhi's impressive new Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium were any indication", whether "it would erase the national shame of the past few weeks, the answer is an emphatic, and ecstatic, yes", it said.

"Commonwealth Games make spectacular start," read the headline in the Herald Sun.

"The ceremony, a kaleidoscope of music, movement and colour, was watched by proud and ecstatic locals, plus millions of television viewers across the Commonwealth," it said.

The newspaper also hailed the Games' theme song by Oscar-winning composer A.R. Rahman as "a foot-tapping, hand-clapping, jaw-dropping performance".

The British media called the opening ceremony a "dazzling, colourful and high-octane" event.

The Daily Telegraph said the "spectacular night of dance, music and pyrotechnics" rounded off Rahman's theme song was a "truly lavish production that set a new benchmark for Commonwealth Games opening ceremonies just as Beijing took the Olympic curtain-raiser to new heights".

The Guardian's headline said: "India has arrived." It said the Games had ignited an atmosphere of national pride and celebrations.

The Daily Mail said: "Commonwealth Games kick off in style with stunning opening ceremony... but the real test lies ahead."

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