Home > Featuring Now > Glasgow Puts on a World-Class Opening for the Commonwealth Games | WATC India Editor

Glasgow Puts on a World-Class Opening for the Commonwealth Games | WATC India Editor

What a night to be Scottish! I’ve taken a few weeks out of my Bombay schedule to visit friends and family back in the UK – and I couldn’t have timed it better.

I was glued to my TV screen last night as the cameras zoomed in on Glasgow Celtic Park – a football stadium I’d often visited growing up to watch Glasgow Celtic play Glasgow Rangers – but how I wished I was there in person to enjoy the Opening Ceremony with my family!

I was absolutely mesmerised as the images and memories of the country of my birth flashed before me. Glasgow looked amazing as dancing Tunnocks Tea Cakes, Iron Bru maintenance men, the Loch Ness monster, Scottie dogs and kilts galore danced around the stadium.

There were emotional words from comedian Billy Connolly and Ewan McGregor, beautiful dancing from the Scottish ballet, angelic singing from Amy Macdonald (and random Glaswegians) and the invincible Rod Stewart. Not forgetting the fabulous Red Arrows fly-by. (My big sister Joanna messaged me to say they flew right over her house in Pollokshields and that you could still see the coloured smoke in the sky an hour later!)

In a week when the conflict in Gaza continues to escalate, and when we witness the horror of a passenger plane being shot out of the sky, what better way to lift our spirits than to bring nations together in a sporting competition. 71 nations are competing in the 2014 Commonwealth Games which symbolise friendship between nations. My loyalties will be divided this time as I will be supporting my own country (Scotland) and my current home country (India).

As the host of the last Games in Delhi in 2012, India led the athlete’s procession and was first to enter the stadium, with Olympic medallist Vijay Kumar carrying the Indian flag. The Indian team looked amazing with men sporting orange turbans and women adorning beautiful green sarees. I personally thought it was fitting for India to lead the way given that half of the population of the commonwealth lives there!

As all of the athletes marched in, it was with a sense of growing excitement that I waited for Scotland to make its entrance. The roar from the 40,000 spectators would have been heard in Edinburgh as the Jocks entered the stadium decked to the nines in orange and aqua tartan outfits. And as the magnificent Sir Chris Hoy completed the torch’s journey to the sounds of the ‘Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond’, I certainly had more than one tear in my eye.

Glasgow surpassed itself with the bold move to introduce a global fund-raising event into the proceedings. The clever use of technology to collect £5.00 via text for Unicef to ‘Put Children First’ was  inspirational. I can’t wait to see how much money was raised with people around the world texting ‘First’ to 70333.

Then the came the fireworks for a spectacular finale as the cameras swooped around Glasgow, showing the city at its best. The final images made me laugh out loud as we saw a fully lit replica of the statue of the Duke of Wellington on his horse, with a traffic cone on his head – normally a permanent feature on Glasgow’s Royal Exchange Square – and the best closing ceremony moment ever!

‘Gon yersel Gelsga’! What a night!

Let’s hope that India and Scotland now top the medals tables!

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