GOLD COAST (Australia), April 4: Star shuttler PV Sindhu led the Indian contingent at a glittering opening ceremony which launched the 21st edition of the Commonwealth Games on Wednesday.
The Rio Olympics silver medallist carried the tri-colour as the head of the Indian contingent which also included fellow badminton stars HS Pranoy and Kidambi Srikanth.
Star shooter Gagan Narang, woman discuss thrower Seema Poonia and the men’s and women’s hockey squads were also present among the Indian contingent.
India have sent a total of 222 sportspersons to these Games.
The country had secured a total of 64 medals at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, which included 15 gold, 30 silver and 19 bronze.
The Indian women athletes did not wear sarees for the first time in an international sports event. Instead, the Indian women athletes wore blue blazers and trousers.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) had decided last month that Indian women athletes will not wear sarees at any opening ceremony of international sports events from now on.
The spectacular opening ceremony at the Carrara Stadium featured artistic performances, speeches and processions of athletes from each participating country.
The ceremony, which organisers said was inspired by the city’s rainbow of communities, was led by Scotland’s track and field star Eilidh Doyle, an Olympic and world championship medalist from Scotland, the hosts of the 2014 Games.
But the real star of the festivities was Migaloo, a giant inflatable white whale that floated above spectators and performers alike as red confetti was showered on the stadium.
A heavy shower just minutes before the ceremony was about to begin could not dampen the spirit of the 35,000-strong crowd, who were treated to streams of athletes parading with their national flags and speeches from figures like Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.
A total of 71 nations will compete in 275 events across 19 disciplines at the Games which will conclude on April 15. (Agencies)