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Martial arts performers get security nod
Posted on Thu, Oct 14, 2010 at 8:24 am
by IDMA Editor

NEW DELHI: A last-minute hitch over swords and spears to be used by martial arts performers during the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony posing a ‘‘ security threat’ ’ has been sorted out with the art forms coming out tops. Artistes slated to stage martial arts like Kerala’s famous Kalaripayattu threatened to call off their shows when told that the weapons they were to wield were seen as a security issue and should be substituted by wooden lookalikes.

The performers flatly refused to do so pointing out such objections had not been raised before even though they had presented their art forms before audiences that have included VVIPs. They also said they had been security checked and felt using substitute weapons would be a slight.

On the edge in view of terror threats, security personnel were mindful that the ceremony would be attended by dignitaries like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi apart from foreign guests. Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapakse and Bhutan prince Jigme Namgyal Wanchuk are also going to grace the occasion.

The standoff over the security measures threatened to snowball into a controversy and it took organising committee officials some adroit footwork to resolve the issue by convincing the security apparatus that the spears, lances, shields and swords would not be a threat to any guest. The performances would take place in the middle of the green area at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium which are a fair distance from the stands.

From the security point of view, there has been concern the task had been made harder by the late handing over of venues and work being carried out even after. Even in the case of the closing ceremony , there had been no more than one full rehearsal at the JN Stadium. While the sticking point over security measures proved a tough nut to crack, organizers have managed to put in place plans for the home run, which will commence with athletes completing the marathon entering JN Stadium on Thursday.

Former prez kin to also perform

Tara Venkatesh, granddaughter of former President Dr Venkat Raman, will perform at the Games closing ceremony. Tara, who is only 15, is a student of American International School. She is a trained western classical singer.

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