New Delhi: After much delay, the biggest South Asian Games will begin today.
The 12-day Games will feature 2,500 athletes from eight SAARC countries and will be declared open by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a glittering inaugural ceremony at the Indira Gandhi Athletics Stadium.
The multi-sporting event, being held under the aegis of South Asian Olympics Council, is happening after a delay of four years.
The 12th edition of the Games was to be held in 2012 in New Delhi but was postponed due to Assembly elections in the national capital.
After that, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was suspended by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) between December 2012 and February 2014, leading to more delay.
India is hosting the regional multi-sporting event for the third time and this edition will see athletes from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives, besides hosts India vying for top honours.
Meghalaya's capital Shillong is the co-host city of the February 5-16 Games which will feature 23 disciplines. Guwahati will host 16 disciplines and men's football while Shillong with host six discipline and women's football.
(With PTI inputs)