Tartan-tastic ceremony opens Glasgow Games

Wed Jul 23, 2014 9:07pm EDT
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By Sam Holden and Michael Hann

GLASGOW (Reuters) - Glasgow welcomed a large part of the world and remembered recent tragedies as a diverse and colorful opening ceremony signalled the start of the 20th Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on Wednesday.

As the sun set on the hottest day of the year in Scotland's biggest city, a vibrant display of tartan-clad dancers, pipe bands and kilted entertainers kicked off 11 days of sporting endeavour.

Famed singers Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle, along with over 3,000 volunteers, helped provide the entertainment for a packed stadium as they welcomed the 6,500 athletes from 71 mostly former British colonies.

The opening ceremony drew to a close after two hours when the Queen's Baton Relay entered the stadium at the end of its 190,000-km journey around the Commonwealth.

"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," said Britain's Queen Elizabeth, the head of the Commonwealth.

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

Scotland is hosting the multi-sport event for the third time after 1970 and 1986, when they were held in Edinburgh, but this edition of the gathering will be the biggest sporting event ever held in the country.

Celtic Park, more usually decked out in green and white of one of the city's two major football clubs, was awash with the sights, sounds and colors of the Commonwealth as the athletes entered the arena.   Continued...

Dancers perform during the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, July 23, 2014.REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth