Colourful end to the party
Services emerge champions as the Games move to Kerala
Joy and pride marked the faces of Jharkhandis as the State bid a successful and emotional farewell to the 34th National Games, serving up a wonderful cocktail of jaw-dropping stunts, colours, dance, music and fireworks here on Saturday.
Having already erased several doubts over its credentials in hosting the country’s premier national multi-discipline sporting extravaganza, Jharkhand took another step forward in hope of a brighter and better future after years of political turmoil.
The passionate and patriotic crowd who had thronged the venue in numbers over the fortnight in turning their event into a blockbuster hit once again packed the Birsa Munda athletics stadium, leaving no stone unturned in an effort to be a part of history. “The country has hosted so many National Games but this has been the biggest by any imagination,” said Jharkhand Olympic Association president RK Anand in his inaugural address after nine sky divers from Indian Air Force landed on the pitch to spark the adrenaline rush.
“Apart from the excellent stadiums, facilities and food, it is the love from the people of Jharkhand that has made this Games a success. Therefore, I ask the IOA to grant us regular national camps.”
Following speeches from Jharkhand’s two deputy Chief Ministers Sudesh Kumar Mahto and Hemant Soren as well as their head Arjun Munda, IOA president Suresh Kalmadi declared the Games closed before handing over the flag to Kerala Olympic Association president Abdul Rahman.
Without any hint of a doubt, swimmers Virdhawal Khade of Maharashtra and Richa Mishra of Delhi were awarded the best male and female athlete respectively. While 19-year-old Khade smashed eight meet records en route to an equal number of gold and two silver and two bronze, 27-year-old Richa captured a record-equalling 11 individual gold in addition to four silver and one bronze.
Services, expectedly, regained the overall championship (Raja Bhalendra Trophy), powering their way to glory following a rich haul of 70 gold, 50 silver and 42 bronze. Manipur, who had finished second best last time in Guwahati, remain stuck at the same place to walk away again with the ‘Best State’ award after winning 48 gold, 37 silver and 33 bronze.
Karnataka dropped a place to 11th, signing off with 16 gold, 19 silver and 20 bronze. Jharkhand finished fifth with 33 gold, 26 silver and 37 bronze.
Laser shows paved the way for a night of entertainment, marked by the acts from folk dancers, popular playback singer Shaan, actress Katrina Kaif and child sensations – Hemant Brijwasi, Yatharth and Anamika Chaudhary.
2012 hosts Kerala, in between, showcased their vast cultural heritage with a crisp 12-minute package of kalarippayattu, kathakali and mohiniattam.
Well done Jharkhand, over to God’s own country.