Athletes take the Games spotlight

First published in National News © by

Athletes will take to sports fields, courts, track and pool as the first day of Commonwealth Games competitions gets under way.

The Queen formally declared the 20th Games open at the end of a colourful ceremony at Celtic Park in Glasgow yesterday evening.

She and her husband the Duke of Edinburgh will today watch some of the swimming at Tollcross International Swimming Centre and hockey at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.

Track cycling will take place at the Sir Chris Hoy velodrome, badminton at the Emirates Arena and Rhythmic Gymnastics at the SSE Hydro.

Judo and netball competitions will get under way at the SECC precinct, squash and table tennis at Scotstoun Sports Campus and weighlifting at the Clyde Auditorium.

Lawn bowls will be at Kelvingrove Lawns Bowl Centre and the triathlon at Strathclyde Country Park.

Roving across Scottish places an d culture, last night's ceremony featured stars such as James McAvoy, Rod Stewart, Susan Boyle and Dr Who actor John Barrowman, and Olympian Sir Chris Hoy.

A fast-moving ''Kingdom of the Scots'' sequence featured the firing of the One O'Clock Gun at Edinburgh Castle, a giant haggis and Tunnock's teacakes while in another segment d ancers from Scottish Ballet who performed a routine to an acoustic version of The Proclaimers hit I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles).

Declaring the Games open the Queen said: "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.

''And now, that baton has arrived here in Glasgow, a city renowned for its dynamic cultural and sporting achievements and for the warmth of its people, for this opening ceremony of the Friendly Games.''

The ceremony was watched by a stadium audience of 40,000 and an estimated 1 billion television viewers in 71 Commonwealth nations and territories.

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