As the 2014 Commonwealth Games draws to a close on Sunday, 03 August, we look at some of the highlights that have marked the Games so far. On the night of Wednesday, 23 July, the Commonwealth Games opened in Scotland with a resplendent opening ceremony featuring a live show with a cast of around 2,000 members, including tartan-clad performers, spinning oversized Tunnock’s tea cakes and a giant kilt move down Glasgow’s famed Celtic Park that had been transformed for the Games with a specially created stage floor that covered the entire pitch. Thousands of athletes from 71 nations and territories then marched behind their flags down a multi-colored walkway specifically designed for the athlete’s parade.
Adventurer Mark Beaumont landed on the city’s River Clyde in a seaplane and carried the batonAto Celtic Park, having tracked its progress across the Commonwealth on a 288-day journey spanning almost 120,000 miles. Inside the stadium, the baton was transferred between a group of volunteers who had helped children around Scotland find their potential through sport. Sir Chris Hoy carried it on its final stage to Commonwealth Games Federation president Prince Imran of Malaysia, who removed the message from inside the baton and handed it to the Queen.
The Queen officially opened the games before the 40,000-strong crowd in Celtic Park with millions more watching on television across the world. She declared the Games open by reading her own message from inside the Commonwealth baton. Her Majesty then spoke of the “shared ideals and ambitions” of the Commonwealth and highlighted the “bonds that unite” the 71 nations and territories. “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.”
The Queen, in her role as head of the Commonwealth, then sent her best wishes to the competing athletes Events inside the stadium were shown to the assembled guests and crowd on Europe’s largest LED screen. The giant display, which stands across the whole of the stadium’s South Stand, is almost 100 meters long, 11 meters high and weighs 38 tons.
Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor led a host of entertainers along with larger- than-life representations of famous Scots inventions, landmarks, cultural heroes and Scottish history welcomed guests from across the Commonwealth to Glasgow. The Scottish Regiment Pipe Band arrived in the stadium to accompany Susan Boyle performing the Paul McCartney and Wings song Mull of Kintyre, as the Red Arrows performed a fly-past over the city to signal the arrival of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Sir Chris Hoy joined Scottish actors Ewan McGregor, who was on screen, and James McAvoy in an unprecedented appeal for donations to UNICEF’s Children of the Commonwealth Fund.
The charity said initial figures showed that more than £2.5m had already been raised to help young people across the nations. UNICEF said more than 500,000 people in the UK donated by text within an hour of seeing the appeal. The Games features 17 sports across 11 days of competition. The closing ceremony is scheduled to take place at Hampden Park on the south side of the city, which has been holding all the athletics events.
Some of the results on Friday, 01 August included that of Claudia Fragapane, who became the first Englishwoman to win four golds at a single Commonwealth Games for 84 years with victory on the floor in gymnastics. The gymnast, 16, had already won the vault, the all-around gold and the team gold earlier in the week, as well as coming fifth in Friday’s beam event. Swimmer Joyce Cooper was the previous Englishwoman to win four golds in 1930. Fragapane joins Cooper and the men’s pair of fencer Bill Hoskyns (1958) and shooter Mick Gault (1998) as the only English competitors to win four golds at a single Commonwealth Games.
Meanwhile, in the men’s vault, Canada’s Scott Morgan won gold with a total of 14.733, with a disappointed- looking Kristian Thomas second with a score of 14.499 and Singapore’s Wah Toon Hoe taking bronze with 14.195. In the diving event, Tom Daley and James Denny produced a fantastic final dive to secure a silver medal for England in the men’s synchronized 10m platform. The pair, both 20, scored 95.46 to rise from last place in the four-nation competition to second on 399.36 points.
Australian pair Domonic Bedggood and Matthew Mitcham then did just enough with their own final dive to deny Daley and Denny gold by 0.18 points. Canada’s The defending champion, Jennifer Abel, won the women’s 1m springboard, with Scotland’s Grace Reid fifth. The 18-year-old Reid, diving in her home pool, was in the silver-medal position entering the final round, but finished fifth with a total of 269.40.
In the meantime, England’s Nicola Adams and Northern Ireland’s Michaela Walsh will fight to become the first female Commonwealth boxing champion, in the women’s flyweight boxing final. Olympic champion Adams, 31, produced a blistering third round on her way to beating Canada’s Mandy Bujold, 27, on points in her four-round semi-final. Walsh, 21, had a tougher time against India’s Pinki Rani, 24, but won by a split decision.
Glasgow 2014 is the first time women’s boxing has been included at a Commonwealth Games, and Adams says it would mean everything if she could add the Commonwealth title to her CV. In the field hockey event England beat New Zealand in a penalty shootout to reach the women’s final at the Commonwealth Games. England goalkeeper Maddie Hinch kept out two Black Sticks attempts to secure a 3-1 shootout victory.
Katie Glynn had leveled late in the match for New Zealand after a disputed first-half goal from Lily Owsley. England will face Australia in Saturday’s final after the defending champions thrashed South Africa 7-1 in the other semi-final. South Africa play New Zealand at 18:00 for the consolation of a bronze medal. In the men’s hockey at the Glasgow National Hockey Center, England lost 2-1 to New Zealand. They are now likely to have to face world champions Australia if they make it to the last four.
Both England and the Kiwis had been trying to protect 100 percent records from their opening two Pool B fixtures. On the athletics side, sperstar sprinter Usain Bolt anchored the Jamaican 100m relay squad into Saturday’s final despite a scare and insisted again that he was delighted to be in Glasgow. Bolt has been forced to deny reports that he made a disparaging remark about these Commonwealth Games, but his long- awaited appearance was almost ruined by injury rather than controversy.
Jamaica’s lead-off man Kimmari Roach appeared to hurt his thigh midway through the first leg of their heat but managed to get the baton to second man Julian Forte before Nickel Ashmeade and then Bolt took the team home. Bolt admitted afterwards: “I looked round and thought something was wrong. A relay does not give Bolt quite the same stage for his usual clowning. But there was a little dance to the music played over the public address system and a fist-bump with the girl designated to carry his kit, the Hampden Park crowd seemingly delighted to have witnessed first-hand the greatest athlete of his era.