Indian media sing praises of finished Games
The Games ended on Thursday after 11 days of fiery competition that helped mend some of the damage done to Indian pride and prestige by the chaotic buildup to the event.
“Mission Accomplished 101%” headlined The Times of India, the largest selling English-language newspaper as it hailed the “Dream end with dancing lights.”
“After the spellbinding opening ceremony and a stirring surge in the medals tally, the mood in the capital was expectedly upbeat,” it said.
The Indian Express headlined with a pun on the Indian capital’s name, “Delhightful”, written in bold over a giant picture of the spectacular light show in the main stadium during the closing ceremony.
“What began a dozen evenings ago with a nervous nation’s fingers crossed ended tonight as triumph — hands down,” added the paper.
“Saffron, White, Green, Gold: Colours of Success,” said the Hindustan Times newspaper, referring to the colours of the national flag and the 38 gold medals won by the Indian athletes during the tournament.
Most of the newspapers were filled with pictures of the two-and-a-half-hour closing spectacular that featured mass dance routines, Bollywood hits, laser shows and fireworks.
“Thank you Delhi, We Salute India,” said the Hindi-language newspaper Hindustan.
“Delhi has won, Games closing also a superhit,” said Hindi newspaper Navbharat Times, while the more sober The Hindu newspaper headlined “Better security ensures a smooth end to Games.”
The opening and the closing ceremonies were watched by a crowd of almost 60,000 with a worldwide television audience of more than a billion, several newspapers reported.
Organisers had suffered a barrage of bad publicity in the lead-up to the October 3-14 competition, with complaints about the unfinished and unhygienic athletes’ village, the risk of dengue fever and venue safety fears.
The Times of India gave a hint that once the euphoria over the closing ceremony subsides, the process of punishing those responsible for the mismanagement should begin.
“Games over, Let the Audit begin,” it said in an article that stressed the significance of ruling party boss Sonia Gandhi’s decision to sit among spectators rather than with tarnished chief organiser Suresh Kalmadi.
Thoughout the media coverage, there was palpable relief that India had pulled off the show at the last minute and had averted any major disaster.
“All is well that ends well,” said a television reporter on NDTV, a private news channel on Friday.
In a editorial in the Hindustan Times, veteran tennis player Mahesh Bhupati underlined that Indian sportsmen and women had “saved” the Games.