Update Details

Oct 08

CommonWealth Youth Games Pune 2008 commences with a glittering ceremony
Pune, 12th October 2008: The rich cultural heritage of India and the great Maratha spirit came alive today, as the spectacular sporting bonanza of the Commonwealth Youth Games 2008 began in Pune. Her Excellency, Smt. Pratibha Devisingh Patil, President of India, declared the Games open in the presence of eminent dignitaries, famed athletes and gallaries full of sports lovers.

Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, MP & Chairman, Commonwealth Youth Games Pune 2008 and Commonwealth Games Delhi 2010 expressed his happiness that for the first time all the 71 nations were participating in Commonwealth Youth Games. He also thanked Puneties for their overwhelming support and warm welcome extended by them to the participants.

Shri. Vilasrao Deshmukh - Hon'ble Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Smt Rajlaxmi Bhosale - Hon'ble Mayor of Pune, Mr. Michael Fennell - President, Commonwealth Games Federation, Mr. Mike Cooper - CEO, Commonwealth Games Federation, Mr. Randhir Singh - Secreatary General, Indian Olympic Association, Dr. MS Gill, Union Minister for Sports , Dr. Shashi Tharoor - Chairman Commonwealth Games Games Council and Former UN Under Secretary General , Mr. S. Jaipal Reddy - Urban Development Minister, Mr. S.C Jamir - Hon'ble Governor of Maharashtra, were also present on the occasion.

Over 1,300 athletes and 350 officials from 71 countries are participating in 9 disciplines -Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling.

The Opening Ceremony at the impressive Athletics Stadium at Balewadi Sports City on the outskirts of Pune began with welcome note by the Army band and an elegant equastrian parade by Mewar Horses. The National Anthem was played by renowned Santoor player Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma and his son Rahul Sharma while noted dancer-actor Hema Malini performed the Ganesh Vandana. The famed helicopter display team of the Indian Air Force 'Sarang' showcased various manoevres, which received wide applause. Thereafter the Akashganga paratroopers touched down in various formations.

The Youth Baton was carried by P T Usha, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, Gopichand, Anjali Bhagwat, Dhanraj Pillai, Jitendra Kumar, Nandu Natekar, Ajit Pal Singh, Zafar Iqbal, Akhil Kumar, Sushil Kumar and Vijender among others. Ace shooter and Olympic Gold medallist Abhinav Bindra picked up the Kalash with water from the 'Tribune of Honour' and poured the water into the Grand Kalash. The 'Fountain of Youth' then came alive in its full glory.

India's bollywood sensation and Maharashtra's very own, Urmila Matondkar enthralled audiences with the traditional Lavani performed to the enchanting beats of the dholak. While Bollywood's leading star, Saif Ali Khan regaled the audience with his performance on popular Bollywood chart busters.

The Commonwealth Youth Games at Pune are being seen as a curtain raiser for the Commonwealth Games to be hosted by India in New Delhi in 2010. The Youth Games will also serve to identify India's medal winning potential athletes for the main Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the Olympic Games.

The most unique feature of these games is their venue, Shiv Chhatrapati Sports City at Balewadi on the outskirts of Pune, as it is for the first time that the competition venues of all disciplines and the Athletes Village will be housed in a single sports complex. The sprawling complex is located on 153 acres of land. The mascot of the 2008 Commonwealth Youth Games is "Jigrr", a young tiger cub, the national animal of India. Jigrr is the younger brother of 'Shera', the mascot of 2010 Commonwealth Games. The name "Jigrr", is an amalgam of the word "Jigar", which implies courage in Hindi and also the sound of a tiger roar 'grrr...'
The Games are now over. This site is for reference only. For the latest news and information on the Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Youth Games please visit the CGF website.

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