Pune, the city of youth, culture and vibrancy has been conferred with the honour of hosting the III Commonwealth Youth Games. This verdict is indeed in the favour of all sports enthusiasts and city dwellers, given their repute for hospitality and enthusiasm.
365 days celebrations
On the 11th of October 2007, it was exactly 365 days to go for the Commonwealth Youth Games, which will be held in Pune from 12th to 18th October 2008. These will be a trial games for the Commonwealth Games to be held in Delhi in 2010.
The III Commonwealth Youth Games Pune 2008 is an opportunity for Pune to figure prominently on the world map. It is for the first time in the history of the Commonwealth Youth Games that all 71 countries will participate in this event – more than 2000 athletes and officials will participate in 9 sports disciplines viz. Athletics, Badminton, Boxing, Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Tennis, Weightlifting and Wrestling.
The Organising Committee had planned a grand event for the people of Pune to kick-start the excitement and build up to the Games.
The “Chalo Jigrr ke Saath – Get Set, Go” event was held on 11th October 2007 at the College of Engineering Grounds, Shivajinagar, Pune at 5.30 pm and was launched by the Chief Guest Mr. Michael Fennell, President, Commonwealth Games Federation in the presence of Mrs. Rajlaxmi Bhosale, Hon’ble, Mayor of Pune, Mr Harshavardhan Patil, Minister for Marketing, Govt. of Maharashtra, Sports icons who have done the country proud namely, Mr. Samaresh Jung, Ms. Anjali Bhagwat, Mr. Dhanraj Pillay and Ms. Tejaswini Savant to name a few.
The event was kick started by the flag off, of the 2-wheeler rally of approximately 5000 youth of the city. It started from 10 different spots in the city and converged at the College of Engineering grounds just before the event.
The “Chalo Jigrr Ke Saath – Get Set Go” event commenced amid much fanfare with 3 Army bands in attendance and bike stunts by Rubber Smoking Angels.
Jigrr, the mascot of the Commonwealth Youth Games Pune 2008 held centre stage. Mr. Javed Akhtar, noted lyricist himself presented the Jigrr song that he has written. The song has been composed and sung by Mr. Shankar Mahadevan.
The evening was a medley of magic, music, dance and song. Mr. K S Ramesh, noted illusionist presented some mesmerizing magic, Kabir Khan’s team of girls embodied the spirit of Chak De India as they celebrated the advent of the Commonwealth Youth Games Pune. Dancers from the Shiamak Davar Institute of Performing Arts played with shadows and Sukhwinder Singh regaled all with his most popular songs!
Another highlight of the event was the flag march of resident international students from all the 71 Commonwealth countries as they expressed their excitement in welcoming their countrymen and women to Pune in 2008.
The Commonwealth Youth Games Pune 2008 are a feather in the cap of Pune and the 365 days to go – Chalo Jigrr ke Saath event has befit a feather in the cultural cap of Pune!
500 days celebrations
The naming ceremony of the mascot of the III Commonwealth Youth Games Pune 2008 was on 1st June 2007. His name is “Jigrr”
Pune's Jigrr is intelligent, sporting and alert. Incorrigibly competitive and incredibly brave, he is oozing with confidence and the twinkle in the eye reflects his 'I can do it' attitude.
Jigrr is an amalgam of the Hindi word Jigar, which implies courage and the sound of a tiger roar (grrr...). Jigrr is also phonetically similar to Tiger.
Jigrr will not only promote the Youth Games at Pune but also spread his enthusiasm for sports among the youth of India.
650 days celebrations
The passage of 100 days after the grand commencement of the preparation for the Commonwealth Youth Games was celebrated with equal enthusiasm and fervour.
This occasion was marked by putting up hoardings and banners in the entire city to promote the forthcoming sporting bonanza.
750 days celebrations
The historical monument of the majestic Shaniwarwada was selected as a launch venue to kick-start the preparations for the III Commonwealth Youth Games.
The whole venue was decorated in the colours of the Commonwealth Youth Games. The mascot of the games was introduced and a host of other programmes were conducted where eminent personalities from various fields extended their wholehearted support. Sportspersons like Anjali Bhagwat, Dhanraj Pillai expressed their support for the event.
The city also wore a festive look with banners and hoardings promoting the Commonwealth Youth Games.