Beijing Olympic Games declared open

BEIJING: Chinese President Hu Jinta officially declared open the 29th Olympic Games as triple gold medallist gymnast Li Ning lit the Olympic cauldron at the National Stadium, popularly known as the “Bird’s Nest” here on Friday.

Jintao made the announcement in front of the capacity crowd of 91,000 at the National Stadium which staged a spectacular ceremony marking the start of the fortnight-long biggest sporting extravaganza on the earth.

India is fielding a 56-member contingent, including Athens silver medallist shooter Rajvardhan Singh Rathod, and would be seen in action in various disciplines such as shooting, swimming, tennis, archery and boxing.

However, India’s eight-time champion hockey team would be missing the event for the first time in 80 years.

More than 10,500 athletes in 302 medal events would compete for next 16 days.

Delegations from 205 national and regional Olympic committees would participate in the quadrennial event.

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