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CISM thanks India for best Military World Games

By Ravi Kant Singh, IANS

Hyderabad : The International Council for Military Sports (CISM) thanked India for hosting the best ever Military World Games as the curtains came down on the eight-day gala event at the G.M.C. Balayogi Stadium here Sunday.

“Namaste India! Namaste Andhra Pradesh!” was how CISM president Brigadier General Gianni Gola of Italy opened his address at the closing ceremony, thanking the Indian armed forces for their meticulous organisation of the biggest ever Military World Games.

Before the Defence Minister A.K. Antony formally declared the games closed, the Italian general made a special mention of the “multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and multi-religious society of India which welcomed the soldiers of the world with open arms,” thanking the host country for taking pains to make the games a wonderful success.

“It has been my experience that these games will remain a landmark in the history of the Military World Games not just for the fact that more than a hundred countries took part. But more importantly three world records, one each in swimming, military rifle shooting and parachuting, were created apart from 27 CISM records of which 17 were by women participants,” said the general proudly.

“It’s no small credit to the host country for the excellent, truly world-class facilities for these games. I sincerely hope to see many of you in 2011 for the fifth Military World Games at Rio Janeiro, Brazil.”

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Rajashekhar Reddy in his address profusely thanked CISM for helping put the city of Hyderabad and the state of Andhra Pradesh on the world stage through the games.

India’s 10 medals – two gold, a silver and seven bronze – also came in for special mention, a vast improvement from the lone bronze performance at the 2003 games in Catania, Italy.

The ceremonies began nearly 20 minutes behind schedule due to the late arrival of the defence minister from Delhi.

After the customary addresses, the entire gamut of lowering the flags and handing it over to the next hosts Brazil, extinguishing the games flame was gone through followed by a song and dance performance by film artistes.

Lancers of the 61st Cavalry, the world’s only horse-mounted regiment, were flown in especially from Jaipur to add colour to the flag handing-over ceremony. Major General V.K. Ahluwalia, head of the Indian delegation, formally handed the CISM flag and the games torch to Brigadier General Antonio Macado of Brazil.

A special feature of the musical extravaganza for the evening was the performance of samba dancers from Brazil, a special treat for Indians from the hosts of the next games.

The military bands, Sarang display helicopter team and the sky divers of the Akash Ganga team of the Indian Air Force were again on display as the participants marched in uniform before the 38,000-capacity crowd, most of them connected with the armed forces in some way.