With the sweltering heat and the rain playing spoilsport alternatively, the inaugural to the Commonwealth Youth Games 2008, the concert-cum-baton relay, was a well organized event.
The games were first held in Scotland in 2000 and in Australia in 2004 with 24 countries taking part. In this 3rd edition, a whopping 71 shall be contributing to make it a grand success at the Sri Shiv Chatrapati Sports Complex in Pune. Going by the intricacies of climate control existing in the world today, the Commonwealth Games Organising Committee’s prime intention is to ensure that both these major intentional events are environmentally friendly, and become models of how to host “Sustainable Green Games” in the future. A number of initiatives are being taken in this regard. A Mobile Waste Manager, a unique and innovative solution to only leaving behind footprints of joy and happiness. A mobile composting unit shall be accompanying the convoy. Only eco-friendly cotton materials shall be used for volunteer jerseys. The Commonwealth Green Schools and Universities Programme shall be aimed at transforming them into Green Institutions over a year’s time by planting saplings all over. A number of awareness programmes keeping in mind the theme of Saving the Tiger through environmental messages and screening of documentaries is the plan of the hour.
Also complementing a noble cause, its mascot Jiggr, the younger sibling of Shera who is the face of the Commonwealth Games 2010, supported the brainchild Save the Tiger Campaign in light of the decreasing trend in the tiger population of the country. With the freshers getting their first taste of college gigs with Rabbi and Palash Sen, the mood was set and how! Hosted at the Delhi University Sports Complex, which had empty areas for miles, at 11:45am, it seemed a difficult task to fill them up with the performance of just 2 artists. But within the span of 20 minutes, it was full up. Rabbi was at his best making his home crowd head bang to his Sufi and acoustic versions. Playing his hit cover versions of Bulla, Tere Bin and Dilli, his sense of belonging to the city did not take much time to emerge. Vivid moments of seeing sportspersons from various schools and colleges dance, head bang, or just sway to the music were a sight. Chants of Bulla were never-ending and sent the frenzied crowd to an instant high. With Rabbi coming to a close, it was the turn of the formalities and thanksgivings to take place. Onstage stepped our honorable CM, Ms. Shiela Dixit commenting on the success of the Youth games and how they shall be the stepping stone to the 2010 games. Accompanying her was Vice Chancellor Deepak Pental, legend Dhanraj Pillay, and Sports Minister MS Gill. Next was Palash Sen with his signature “Dhum Pichak Dhum” start. The crowd strengthened over time with classes coming to a close for the day and students flocked to the Complex like mad. The noise emanating from the concert could be heard throughout campus which added to the publicity. Complementing the event was a graffiti board where people felt free to pen down their voice about the games, the Save the Tiger Campaign and suggestions. With the clouds hovering over and Dhanraj Pillay leading from the front, the relay started off on its round around campus covering various colleges with the media persons in full fan following. Colorful cars, painted in the event’s logo were at the tail of it all. The deployment of the police force was a welcome sight, keeping the procession organized, with efficient traffic management and diversions.
It sure was a grand opening to what is to follow in Pune in October. See you there.