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Commonwealth Games

After the truly spectacular success of the 2012 London Olympics the focus now turns northwards for the next multi-sports extravaganza. Glasgow will welcome the myriad countries of the Commonwealth in 2014 as the city stages the Commonwealth Games for the first time, an event that will see Scotland become the focus of the sporting world for 11 days of intense competition.

The Commonwealth Games cannot quite boast the spiritual and epic history of the Olympic Games, but they still have an impressive lineage, being first held way back in 1930. Nowadays they vie with the Asian Games to be the considered the second most important multi-sport team event in the world. Despite their critics over the years the Games are still going strong with 71 countries and territories expected to attend Glasgow 2014. Starting life as the British Empire Games, the current moniker is reflective of changed times.

Edinburgh has successfully hosted the Games twice, in 1970 and 1986, so the pressure is on Scotland’s largest city to put on a show. Glasgow has risen to the challenge and preparations are well advanced for what should be a thrilling festival of sport. A total of 17 sports (ten of which are considered ‘core sports’ and a further seven ‘selected sports’) are due to be contested in Glasgow. Interestingly the host city gets to choose the latter seven. Glasgow 2014 will feature a volley of sports that are not included in the Olympics, including lawn bowls, rugby sevens and netball.

If you thought that the Commonwealth Games are a second rate event with these sort of minority sports ruling the roost then think again. How about the spectacle of a multitude of Scottish sportsmen and sportswomen competing in their native country? Or the ridiculously tempting prospect of the best the Home Nations can muster taking on Usain Bolt across 100m, 200m or maybe even the long jump? What price too on Bolt smashing the Commonwealth Games 100m record of 9.88 seconds, which was set by Ato Boldon from Trinidad and Tobago back in 1998?

The nature of the Commonwealth sees some wonderful geopolitical peculiarities at the Games. Team GB is out of the window as Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland compete separately, as do Guernsey and the Isle of Man. South Sudan, one of the world’s newest countries, is slated to appear in 2014, though a bid by Cornwall to compete separately to England has apparently already been turned down. Both South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands and British Antarctic Territory are eligible, though their lack of any sizeable population may prevent them from appearing in 2014!

With the London Olympics a rapidly fading memory the focus of the sporting world is now inexorably homing in on Glasgow. With one million tickets on offer there are still spare seats for some events so what are you waiting for? Scotland’s largest city is up for the challenge of staging this multi-country, multi-territory fiesta, which will take over Central Scotland from July 23, right through to August 3. Are you?

Glasgow’s 2014 Commonwealth Games

© Copyright Robin McKelvie