David Leggat on sport

David Leggat is a Herald sport writer

David Leggat: Glasgow's chance to shine

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First-time hosts for Games hope the weather gods will be kind for sporting jamboree.

Hampden Park will be the main stadium at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Photo / Greg Bowker
Hampden Park will be the main stadium at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games. Photo / Greg Bowker

First impressions, we've all heard the two contrasting perspectives.

There's the books and covers line; then there's the one about the lasting impression being the first one.

In which case those arriving for the first time in Glasgow yesterday would be thinking the stories they'd heard about the climate were bang on.

It rained, misty, steady drizzle, low cloud all day, then chucked it down for an hour late in the day. Miserable indeed with the start of the long-awaited summer sports jamboree just four days away.

Never mind, it'll be all right come Thursday and the first day of Commonwealth Games competition, said a couple of locals who, to be fair would not necessarily have appealed as relentlessly upbeat souls.

There was a good gathering of what the Games officials refer to as the Commonwealth family at Glasgow airport yesterday.

There was a mix of Norfolk Islanders, one woman with her hair streaked a patriotic red and orange; Cook Islanders resplendent in bright green tracksuits; a bunch of Aussies mate, mate-ing each other and a couple of black and white New Zealand tracksuits.

Throw in a pile of Games volunteers in distinctive garb - eager to please and keen to do their bit for the event - and the banners and photos spread around the terminal, and the Scots are certainly making visitors aware something important is about to happen.

It is Glasgow's first opportunity to host the Games - fierce rivals Edinburgh have done it twice, in 1970 and 1986 - and there's a determination to do it right.

The main Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre precinct will be the biggest sports location, hosting six sports - gymnastics, boxing, judo, netball, wrestling and weightlifting/powerlifting - as well as being home to the international broadcasting and print media.

Take away the workers putting late finishing touches in place and there was little activity yesterday. Call it the calm before things get hectic, with a crush of sports activity from Thursday until August 3.

Among those less than enamoured about the Games are taxi drivers, what with the courtesy cars and free public transport available for a large chunk of visitors.

"We're getting kicked in the backside, again," one of their fraternity said glumly yesterday.

While there's sure to be a view among many that this is a pleasant interlude before the real sporting business starts again, the next football season, it's easy to find a sense of pride that this is Glasgow's turn to shine. And for that, it could do with a bit of sunshine to warm the occasion.

New Zealand have their official welcome to the athletes' village, and flag raising, this morning. The naming of New Zealand's flagbearer for the opening ceremony will be revealed early on Wednesday (NZT).

- NZ Herald

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