Kiwi athletes officially welcomed to Glasgow

By Kris Shannon in Glasgow

New Zealand Black Sticks Gemma Flynn and Emily Nalyor with the rest of New Zealand team were officially welcomed to Glasgow. Photo / Greg Bowker
New Zealand Black Sticks Gemma Flynn and Emily Nalyor with the rest of New Zealand team were officially welcomed to Glasgow. Photo / Greg Bowker

Before the staid official ceremony on a grey Glasgow evening, the Kiwi Commonwealth Games team were welcomed to the athletes' village with a colourful and peppy performance.

Along with Guernsey and Norfolk Island, the New Zealand flag was one of the first to be raised at the village, in Glasgow's east end, earlier today.

But the national anthem was only one of many musical numbers to which the watching Kiwi team were treated, with a production from the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain featuring equal parts plaid and over-exuberance.

Kilts were common, the Glaswegian tradition of boat-building played a central part and, yes, there were bagpipes - but only after the trance music stopped.

New Zealand's athletes appeared slightly bemused by some of the performance but triathlete Ryan Sissons reckoned those sorts of touches were what made the Commonwealth Games special.

"I didn't expect what we got," he said. "It was really awesome to see and a pretty good performance by them.

"It's always good to come in and see this sort of thing as part of the experience. If you miss this it's just another race, but with all this going on makes it pretty cool."

Led out by chef de mission Rob Waddell - looking more like an athlete than many of the athletes - about 200 members of the New Zealand team were beckoned into the ceremony by the youth theatre group, with those modern sights of selfies and GoPros more than prevalent in the procession.

There were a few of aspects of the performance to make the Kiwis feel like home, with Scottish elements like fish'n'chips clearly being shared by both countries. (It's doubtful, however, that the crates disguised as hay bales were fooling anyone.)

Steve Frew, Scotland's first gymnastics gold medallist, then addressed the trio of nations' athletes, telling the assembled group to savour the experience of the Games, which begin with the opening ceremony on Thursday morning (NZT).

"This is your moment," he said. "The athletes' village is the place to feel like home - and the place to have the time of your life."

And if the athletes can exhibit anywhere near the enthusiasm of the youngsters they were watching play air-violin, then Frew's vow will probably prove true.


New Zealand Chef de Mission Rob Waddell offers a gift as the NZ team were welcomed to the athletes' village. Photo / AP Greg Bowker

- NZ Herald

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