The XX Commonwealth Games opened in style at Celtic Park, with flag bearer Euan Burton leading Team Scotland into the stadium to a rapturous home-crowd welcome.
40,000 people filled the stadium for a colourful celebration of all things Scottish; Karen Dunbar and John Barrowman kicking of the show with a musical tour of ‘The Kingdom of the Scots’. With performers including Rod Stewart, Susan Boyle and Nicola Benedetti, alongside a volunteer cast ranging in age from 8 to 85 years old, the momentum built to the moment Team Scotland entered the stadium.
"When we were standing in the tunnel outside I turned round and shouted 'are you ready Scotland?' The reception I got was incredible,” said Team Scotland Flag Bearer Euan Burton.
“When we went in the noise was indescribable and every time we hit a corner it just went up again. If the rest of the Games is like this, it's going to be something special."
Even for those athletes who have experience of several Games, the reception of the Scottish crowd was like nothing they had seen before. Lawn Bowler Alex Marshall, participating in his fifth Commonwealth Games, said:
"It was the best experience I've ever had at a Commonwealth Games. It was an experience of a lifetime.
"All you saw was Saltires. I've never experienced anything like that in my life.
"The reception I had there was the best ever without a doubt."
Fittingly, it was left to cycling legend Chris Hoy to complete the final leg of the Queen’s Baton Relay, handing the baton back to Her Majesty the Queen at the end of its 100,000 mile journey around the Commonwealth. Now that the Games have been officially declared open, the stage is set for 11 days of top class competition across all 17 sports, with Team Scotland athletes in action from day one.
Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said:
“What an amazing Opening Ceremony to kick-off our home Games and one which will live long in the memory of the thousands who were fortunate enough to be inside the stadium and for the millions watching from across the Commonwealth and beyond. We started this journey 12 years ago and it was a very proud and poignant moment when our flag bearer, Euan Burton, led Team Scotland into the stadium.
“With a welcome unlike anything they have ever experienced before in Scotland, I am sure the entire Team are now raring to go and showcase their talent in the sporting arena and make the nation proud.”
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