Sunday, 3 October 2010

Security tight ahead of opening ceremony

As crowds begin spilling into the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium ahead of tonight's extravaganza, Indian authorities have dispatched thousands of security personnel to Delhi's streets in an unprecedented show of force.

Almost 100,000 police are manning city streets, along with 1,500 commandos, 100 anti-sabotage teams, 300 sniffer dogs and 15 bomb disposal squads.

Outside the stadium, spectators, media and dignitaries are going through security check-points involving bag searches, metal detectors, frisking and even radiation checks.

Overhead, military helicopters are buzzing across the skyline and unmanned aerial drones are said to be keeping an eye on possible air space intrusions.

But in its latest advice, the Government makes specific reference to the lack of security at areas around the city which are showing Games coverage on large public screens.

"There are plans to erect 25 large screens in various areas of New Delhi to allow people to watch the Commonwealth Games," the advice said.

"These sites will have a lower level of security than at the Games venues."

More than 60,000 people will watch the spectacle from within the stadium tonight.

The three-hour long show will celebrate many aspects of India's rich culture, including its traditions in yoga, its famous train journeys and a Bollywood-style finale featuring a theme song created by Oscar-winning composer AR Rahman of Slumdog Millionaire-fame.

About 250 members of the 546-strong Australian team will be the first athletes to enter the venue because Australia hosted the last Games in Melbourne.

The Australian team was earlier given a clean bill of health ahead of the opening ceremony.

As hosts of these Games, Indian athletes will come in last.


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