Thiruvanthapuram, Jan 31: Filly the 35th tiol Games got underway here on Saturday evening at the brand new state–of–the–art Greenfield Stadium with more than 40,000 spectators cheering every moment.
When the clock struck 6 p.m., the chenda melam (percussion) event led by Padma Shri Mattanur Sankarankutty started the programme when more than 100 chenda melam artistes made merry striking their chenda to unison.
It was followed by the impressive march past by all the participating teams with an estimated 5,000 athletes taking part. Taking the salute was chief guest M. Venkaiah idu, Union Minister for Urban Development. Welcoming the gathering, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said what’s been seen here is the victory of sports.
"We are not stopping with this. Instead my government will soon come out with a special sports package for the overall development of sports and games," said Chandy.
Sports Minister Sarbanda Sonowal said that it’s now time that both private and public sectors come forward to offer jobs to budding sportspersons in our country.
"The opening ceremony has been superlative and now I call upon you sports persolities to go and perform," said Sonowal.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N. Ramachandran thanked the Kerala government for organising the event.
Iugurating the event, union minister idu pointed out that the education curriculum has to be revamped and sports education has to be and will be included in the curriculum.
"This marvellous stadium is going to be the pride of Kerala and I fully appreciate the hardworking chief minister of Kerala Oommen Chandy. Even though we may belong to different political parties, we will all work together for the country," said idu.
The event is going to be held at 30 venues in seven districts of the state and up for grabs are a record 1,369 medals. The sporting events will start Sunday and the closing ceremony would be held in this stadium on Feb 14. Incidentally this is the second time that Kerala is playing host, with 1987 being the first time.
But compared to a rather small event in 1987, in sheer size this is indeed the biggest ever sporting event that has ever taken place in the state as over 10,000 athletes including officials will take part, besides a 2,500–strong media contingent.
The swanky brand new stadium, built from scratch in less than 20 months, was buzzing with activity since afternoon as people queued up to take their seats. IANS