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Sunday, Jul 27, 2014

Sports

Scotties lead the way in Commonwealth Games Opening

The New Paper | Sunday, Jul 27, 2014

The Loch Ness Monster makes an appearance during the opening ceremony.

The fanfare of the World Cup may still be lingering, but 71 nations and territories have moved on from Brazil in their quest for silverware.

Seven years of preparation and £500 million (S$1.05 billion) later, the Commonwealth Games kicked off with a dazzling opening ceremony at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, before an audience of 40,000 on Wednesday night.

Head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth II, clad in a white tweed and lame coat with matching hat, declared the 11-day competition open.

Scottish icons who made appearances included singers Susan Boyle and Rod Stewart. The 69-year-old Stewart wore a shimmering a silver suit as he performed his 1991 hit, Rhythm Of The Heart.

Even Tunnocks teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionery, and the Loch Ness monster, fondly known as Nessie, made appearances. But the highlight of the night went to the 4,500 athletes from the 71 participating nations as they paraded around the stadium.

The Singapore contingent, decked in bright red jackets, was the fifth to enter Celtic Park. Gymnast Lim Heem Wei was the team's flag-bearer.

DOGGIE DUTY

Each contingent was led out by a Scottish terrier wearing a tartan coat bearing the team's name.

There were 41 dogs on duty, which meant most of them had to do a double shift with a quick costume change, reported The Australian newspaper.

While some Scotties kept in step, others scurried from side to side or had to be carried.

It has been 28 years since Scotland hosted the multi-sports showpiece in Edinburgh.

Since the Games' inception, Australia holds the record, winning 804 gold medals. There will be another 261 gold medals at stake in this edition of the Games, which will be watched by an expected 1.5 billion television audience.

BY THE NUMBERS

4,500 - Number of athletes competing from the 71 participating nations for this year's Commonwealth Games.

The baton relay represents a calling together of people from every part of the Commonwealth and serves as a reminder of our shared ideals and ambitions as a diverse, resourceful and cohesive family. - Queen Elizabeth II, reading from her speech, which had been placed in the baton last October, before going on a 288-day journey across all nations and territories of the Commonwealth More Commonwealth Games coverage.


This article was first published on July 25, 2014.
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