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New Delhi counts down to Commonwealth Games


With just one day to go before the New Delhi Commonwealth Games open on Sunday, work is continuing round the clock to make sure they succeed. The organisers say they are confident of putting on a great show, despite international criticism of the event's organisation.


The Commonwealth equivalent of the Olympic torch, the Queen's baton, made its final tour of the Indian capital on Saturday.

The cost of the games has soared from an estimated 73 million dollars originally to at least four billion dollars.

Sunday's opening is expected to be a Bollywood-inspired extravaganza, with thousands of singers and dancers backed by sound-and-light effects.

India's President Pratibha Patil is due to attend, along with Britain's Prince Charles.

Massive security has been drafted in. An estimated 17,000 paramilitary troopers have been deployed to reinforce 80,000 police.

The head of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Leon Panetta, made a stopover to New Delhi on Saturday to discuss security for the Games with India's most senior intelligence officials, local media reported.

Seventy-one former British colonies take part in the Commonwealth Games, which are held every four years.

This year's Games will be the biggest to date, with over 5,800 athletes and officials already in Delhi, according to the secretary general of the Games organising committee, Lalit Bhanot.

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