Glasgow – British monarch Queen Elizabeth II on Wednesday night in Glasgow declared open the 2014 Commonwealth Games, amidst pageantry and fanfare.
The opening ceremony was set when Chris Hoy, regarded as Britain’s most successful athlete, presented the Games Torch.
Tunku Imran, the Commonwealth Games President, who received the torch, subsequently prepared the stage for the queen who narrated the journey of the torch across the world.
“The baton relay represents the calling together of people from every part of the Commonwealth and serves as a reminder of our shared ideal and ambition as a diverse, resourceful and cohesive family.
“Now, the baton has arrived here in Glasgow, a city renowned for its dynamic, cultural and sporting achievements and for the warmth of its people, for the opening ceremony of this Games.
“To you the Commonwealth athletes, I send my good wishes for success in your endeavours. Your accomplishment over the coming days will encourage us all to strengthen the bonds that unite us.
“You remind us that the young, those under 25 years of age, make up half of our Commonwealth citizens and it is to you that we entrust our values and our future,’’ Elizabeth said.
The ceremony which took place at the Celtic Park, the traditional home of Celtic Football Club, saw the organisers and UNICEF raise funds for the Commonwealth children who suffer neglect.
NAN also reports that the Games flag was also hoisted at the heart of the park to signify unity among the Commonwealth countries and territories.
The flag was held by six influential athletes, with Jamaican sprint queen Shelley-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Olympic swimming gold medallist Ian Thorpe among them.
A one-minute period of silence was also observed for the victims of the Malaysian Airline which was believed to have been shot down by pro-Russian separatists.
Imran, while speaking, said the 2014 Games was a culmination which had seen so many people dedicate their energy to deliver a Games the Commonwealth would be proud of.
“I know very well the challenges which must have been overcome to arrive at this moment.
“I ask of you the proud athletes that you strive to be role models for the youths of the Commonwealth by competing with honour, humility, equality and destiny.
“These are the values we share and they symbolise the value of the Queen Baton Relay.
“The Queen’s baton had been on a spectacular journey through every nation, territory, island and region of the Commonwealth.
“Just one baton carrying one message but touched by thousands and witnessed by millions. The baton symbolises the call to our unique family of nations joined together at these Games,’’ Imran said.
No fewer than 4,000 athletes and 40,000 spectators graced the ceremony which also saw about 125 Nigerian athletes.
The Games is scheduled to hold between July 23 and Aug. 3.(NAN)