Judo took a prime spot at the XX Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony as the host nation’s official flag bearer Euan Burton flew the Scottish Saltire at a star-studded event at Celtic Park.
The judo world bronze medallist said: “When we were standing in the tunnel outside I turned round and shouted ‘are you ready Scotland?’ The reception I got was incredible. When we went in the noise was incredible and every time we hit a corner it just went up again. If the rest of the Games, is like this it’s going to be something special.”
Ahead of this historic moment, the Opening Ceremony involved dancers and singers led by John Barrowman, who cleverly referenced Scottish customs through a cleverly coreographed sequence.
There was live music from Rod Stewart – one of Scotland’s most famous musicians and Susan Boyle. Other local musical talent was celebrated too.
After a stunning air display by the Red Arrows, Her Majesty the Queen was driven into the stadium in a car bearing the Scottish standard.
Then the Baton was flown into the city in a Loch Lomand sea plane and carried in by Baton bearer Mark Beaumont.
Then Andy Stewart sang Come on in. And so each and every one of the 500 athletes from each competing nation proudly entered the stadium over the course of the evening. None were prouder than the judo athletes from England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and Guernsey and their families and friends watching.
The ceremony was attended by judo royalty and officials, including President of Team England Dame Kelly Holmes – a former Judo Army Champion.
Scotland’s only world Champion and Commonwealth Champion Graeme Randall, MBE was also selected as one of the six athletes representing the six regions of the Commonwealth to hoist the ceremonial flag of the Commonwealth Association in the presence of Her Majesty, who declared the Games open.
Gary Lineker and Claire Balding presented the official BBC programme accompanying the Games. In the build-up they spoke to Rebecca Adlington, Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson and Dame Kelly Holmes to name but a few. Meanwhile Hazel Irvine and Huw Edwards provided commentary on the actual Opening Ceremony.
The baton had visited all of the nations of the Commonwealth before it was returned to the stadium by Sir Chris Hoy who personally delivered it to the Queen.
Overall, it was a fantastic event, which attracted 40,000 at Celtic Park and an estimated tv audience of over 1.5 billion worldwide.
The finale of the evening involved fantastic fireworks that erupted all across the city heralding the start of the Friendly Games.
Words by Donna Richardson.