CWG Commences After Recalling & Paying Homage To Australia’s Aboriginals’’ Cultural Heritage

THE 21st Commonwealth Games has kicked off at Queensland in Australia at a gala ceremony where the Indian contingent comprising   over 200 athletes was led by flag-bearer PV Sindhu, the Rio Olympic silver medallist. The Hyderabad based lanky shuttler is among the medal prospects. Athletes from 71 countries are participation in the multi –game event held every four year. Protest by aboriginals and a heavy downpour could not dampen the enthusiasm of 35,000 people at Carrara Stadium where Britain’s Prince Charles and wife Camilla were among the guests. The ceremony began with a message on the screen that read: “Welcome to the oldest living culture on Earth.” A scene from a group of friends surfing off the beach gave way to a virtual journey through space and time .Close to 1,00 Aboriginal activists protested against what they have they termed the CWG as  the  “Stolen wealth Games”.  Australia’s aboriginal heritage was the central theme of the ceremony which lasted over two hours under overcast and often drizzling skies.

The Indians ditched tradition for comfort in the ceremony, marching out in blazers and trousers rather than the conventional sarees and bandhgalas.The aboriginal groups raising slogans earlier had blocked the Queen’s Baton Relay for about an hour at The Spit area of the city. They reminded the participants of the brutalities committed during Britain’s occupation of the country and insisted that the country should have nothing to do with the Commonwealth. Their homeland had been colonized, they said. However, the ceremony commenced with a countdown sequence that welcomed the visitors to the “oldest living culture in the world” and paid tribute to Australia’s heritage before the European invasion.

“It is fitting that the Commonwealth Games is known as ‘The Friendly Games’ as one of the world’s friendliest countries has invited us into their homes for this momentous sporting event,” said Prince Charles, representing the Queen at the ceremony, before declaring the Games open. Camilla Parker Bowles and Prince Charles walked along the parade track, cheered on by a packed stadium. They were welcomed warmly as they walked with two Yugambeh Elders, Ted Williams and Patrica O’Connor. Yugambehs are an aboriginal tribe, who number a mere 10,000 in Australia but are a symbol of Australia’s indigenous past. Revisiting the past. Emotional homage was paid to the Australian heritage, especially the aboriginals, the indigenous people who suffered immensely in the wake of European invasion in the country. A skycam was launched to the soundtrack of a soaring eagle to reveal an aboriginal family in the stands. A young girl in group used a Smartphone to activate a digital countdown superimposed over a sky full of stars.The aboriginal family in the stands was Delvene Cockatoo-Collins, who designed the medals for the Games. Her niece Isabella Graham activated the countdown which took off from 65,000 years. What followed was an imaginative celebration of the past, present and future of Australia and most notably, the way of life at ‘the surfers’ paradise’ of this magnificent city. It went back to the time when Australia was connected to Antarctica, represented by a white whale Migaloo, which migrates an arduous 12,000km from Antarctica to North Queensland every year to mate and give birth. One of the most touching moments of the ceremony was when childhood abuse survivor Damien Rider was revealed one of the last baton-bearers before it reached the Carrara Stadium. The authorities however are confident of a hassle free CWG, being hosted by Australia for the fourth time.

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