GLASGOW: The 2014 Commonwealth Games got under way with a colourful opening ceremony at Celtic Park in Glasgow, yesterday.
Around 4,500 athletes from 71 nations are participating in the multi-sporting gala. A 40,000-strong crowd and a global TV audience up to one billion people were believed to watch the opening ceremony.
Scotland’s traditional parade around the stadium was followed by a live show featuring about 2,000 cast members.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II was to formally open the Games, till filing of this report.
Adventurer Mark Beaumont landed on the city’s river Clyde in a seaplane carrying the baton to Celtic Park, having tracked its progress across the Commonwealth on a 288-day journey spanning almost 120,000 miles.
Star Wars actor Ewan McGregor opened proceedings with a pre-recorded video message, before Glaswegian comedian Karen Dunbar struck up an elaborate song and dance number celebrating Scotland, accompanied by Torchwood star John Barrowman.
Rod Stewart was joined on stage by Bishopbriggs singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald alongside hundreds of ordinary Glasgow citizens to perform a version of his classic song Rhythm of My Heart. 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 flypast over the city to signal the arrival of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
India, the hosts of the previous Games in Delhi in 2010, were the first team to enter the arena and received a warm welcome.
The remainder of the competing nations arrived according to geographical region, led by a Scots representative wearing tweeds and walking a Scottie terrier bedecked in a jacket bearing the name of each country. The loudest reception of the night was reserved for the host nation Scotland.
The Games will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition, starting today.
The closing ceremony will take place at Hampden Park on the south side of the city on August 3.