THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:Enthralling sports aficionados for 15 days with non-stop action, curtains came down on the 35th National Games on Saturday. Goa Olympic Association (GOA) office bearers, who have been allocated the next edition, received the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) flag in the presence of Union Sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal among others at the Greenfield stadium, Kariavattom here.
There was a foreboding sense of alarm prior to the 35th National Games. With scandals galore, there was a feeling that the Games might come a cropper.
Compounding to the malaise was the that it was the first time the event was being held in seven districts. But Kerala held its neck out and exhibited compact organisational skills to pull off one of the finest installment of the Games.
The closing ceremony, unlike the inauguration glitz, was marked by its simplicity. At 7.25 pm, Kerala Governor P Sathasivam declared the Games closed. Following that, the IOA flag and the national flag in the stadium were lowered. Subsequently, the Games flame in the cauldron was put-off. The IOA flag was then brought into the presidential box where it was handed over to the GOA officials by IOA chief N Ramachandran.
Ramachandran also read out the names of the athletes and teams that won the laurels. Kerala’s new swimming sensation Sajan Prakash was adjudged the best men athlete while Maharashtra’s Akanksha Vohra was deemed the best among women.
Overall winners Services team, which won 91 gold medals, was presented Raja Bhalendra Singh trophy while hosts Kerala won the best performing state award.
Ammu, the mascot, meanwhile, made its entry to the stadium from the South pavilion and took a farewell lap to the applause of spectators. Then began the cultural shows of Goa’s artistes. On the big screen in the background ran videos highlighting the scenic beauty of sandy beaches and coconut groves. It’s Goa calling!