With nearly 6,000 athletes already in Delhi and hundreds more streaming in by the day, the capital was putting the final finishing touches to preparations for the biggest ever Commonwealth Games today.
The 12-day sports gathering for 71 mostly former British colonies was in crisis a week ago but organisers seemed to have put the worst of the rash of preparatory problems behind them on the eve of the opening ceremony.
The late scramble by the government to salvage the $6 billion event might still not be enough to eradicate the public relations disaster of the last few weeks but the 19th Commonwealth Games can at least boast the most competitors.
"We are pleased that Delhi 2010 will be the biggest ever Commonwealth Games," secretary general of the Games organising committee Lalit Bhanot said in a statement on Saturday.
"More than 5,800 athletes and officials have already arrived in Delhi. With more arrivals scheduled in the coming days, Delhi 2010 is well on the way to becoming the biggest in history."
The 2006 Melbourne Games had 5,766 athletes and officials, Bhanot said, and Delhi is expecting to host 6,700 before the Games close on Oct. 14.
The late arrivals will land in a city in the grip of huge security operation aimed at ensuring the safety of the athletes and spectators, 60,000 of whom will pack the refurbished Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium today.
Some 100,000 security personnel have been deployed around the city and MiG fighters and helicopter gunships will be on standby. Police have had leave cancelled and Delhi government has ordered shops and commercial establishments to remain closed on Sunday.
The Delhi Games, intended to showcase India's growing financial clout with a display of soft power, had threatened to become a national embarrassment before the government intervened.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Congress party-led coalition government have been accused of failing to give the Games the due attention expected of a large international event.
The organisers had seven years to prepare but the shoddy construction and filthy accommodation forced some of the foreign contingents to either postpone their arrival or put up in city hotels.
The organisers renovated most of the existing stadiums and some of the venues, including hockey and cycling stadiums, have been hailed as world class.
A Metro extension and a new airport terminal will be the other legacies of the Games.