Commonwealth Games end in New Delhi

Australia top with 74 gold medals as 11-day event in Indian capital finishes without major glitches.

Fireworks exploded over the Jawaharlal Nehru stadium during the closing ceremony[Reuters]

The 19th Commonwealth Games have ended in New Delhi with Australia topping the medals table, winning 74 gold medals.

India edged ahead of England to the second place on Thursday when Saina Nehwal won the 38th gold medal for the host nation in the women’s singles badminton final.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from the Indian capital, New Delhi, Pradeep Magazine, a sports journalist, said: “The major thing which has saved the game for India is that [Indian] athletes have won record number of medals and that has pleased Indians quite a lot.”

“The games have been fairly successful because Indians didn’t expect much of it, people were fearing that there will be a lot of glitches, even a major mishap.”

In the run-up to the games, the organisers of the games had come in for severe criticism over delayed completion of the athletes’ village and other facilities. Several prominent athletes had even pulled out of the event, citing health and security concerns.

Final day

On the final day of the competition, Kenya’s John Ekiru Kelai won the gold in the men’s marathon while Irene Kosgei became the first Kenyan to win the gold in women’s marathon.

“I feel on top of the world, this is for my country, the people, coaches and officials. When you can win at this level, you know you have reached your peak,” a jubilant Kelia said.

Australia beat India in the men’s field hockey to add to their already impressive tally of gold medals.

In badminton, world number one Lee Chong Wei defended his men’s singles title with a 21-10, 21-8 win over England’s Rajiv Ouseph in 30 minutes.

In the netball final, New Zealand beat arch rivals, Australia 66- 64 in extra time while England took the bronze with a 70-47 win over Jamaica.

Chrystalleni Trikomiti of Cyprus won gold medals in the rope and ribbon and a bronze in the hoop and ball at rhythmic gymnastics.

Closing ceremony

A glitzy ceremony was held amid tight security at Jawharlal Nehru Stadium to mark the end of the games.

Mike Fennell, the Commonwealth Games Federation president, declared the games a success, saying that despite the late completion of the athletes village, lack of ticket sales and transport issues, the athletes enjoyed them.

He also said that it was “teamwork” that eventually helped to resolve last minute problems.

“People have seen an extremely positive image of the games right across the world. People have had to deal with issues, there’s no denying that, but the end result has been good.”

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies


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