Rebecca Quilliam

Rebecca Quilliam is senior reporter at the NZME. News Service office in Wellington.

Commonwealth Games: Opening Ceremony

Valerie Adams, the New Zealand Flag bearer, leads the New Zealand Commonwealth Games Team into Celtic Football Park. Photo / Greg Bowker
Valerie Adams, the New Zealand Flag bearer, leads the New Zealand Commonwealth Games Team into Celtic Football Park. Photo / Greg Bowker

The 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow has opened today in Scottish style.

Bagpipers, dancers and kilt-clad singers welcomed a packed stadium and millions of television viewers to Scotland.

The opening of the games is being aired live on Sky TV.

The song picked out traditional Scottish themes and geography, and gently mocked its inclement weather: "Don't forget to pack an umbrella".

Hundreds of performers packed the stadium in a colourful display depicting Scottish life and the country's history.

"It's a land of invention and culture, that's true, but all that matters is that Scotland's now full of people just like you," the singers sang.

"Welcome to Scotland."

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Presenter Karen Dunbar then presented video footage of singer Amy Macdonald and Glaswegians singing the Rod Stewart classic Rhythm of my Heart.

The group then entered the stadium to sing, before being joined on stage by Stewart himself.

Singing sensation Susan Boyle then took to the stage to sing Mull of Kintyre, backed by images of the Queen.

She was joined by a full pipe and drum band from the Scottish Regiment.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh arrived in the stadium as a planes flew overhead trailing red, white and blue smoke behind them. The Queen, dressed in a white knee-length jacket, white hat and gloves got out of her car to loud applause from the crowd.

God Save The Queen was then sung.


The Queen arrives the the opening of Commonwealth Games. Photo / Greg Bowker

A slow version of The Proclaimers' hit I Would Walk 500 Miles was played with two ballet dancers performing in a romantic dance ending in a kiss. The crowd was then treated to a giant screen showing beautiful Scottish scenery.

The baton then arrived after a long journey through the Commonwealth.It arrived by plane and was carried by long-distance Scottish cyclist Mark Beaumont.

The baton was sent on its journey by the Queen in London on June 14, last year. It took 288 days to pass over 190,000km and through 70 nations and territories.


A woman who identified herself as Flora from Glasgow introduced the first team into the stadium, India, which hosted the last games in 2010.Unicef Ambassador Ewan McGregor then spoke about the work Unicef was doing with children in Commonwealth countries.

At the end of the athletes' parade the public would be given a chance to simultaneously donate to the charity, he said.

The parade then continued with the Bangladesh team, decked in grey suits and yellow ties.

Malaysia and the Maldives followed. Each team was lead out by a Scottish terrier.The Pakistan team arrived in black and white.Singapore then marched around the stadium in bright red jackets.

The Sri Lanka team wore smart blue jackets and grey pants, and waved enthusiastically at the cheering crowd.The parade was punctuated by footage of Unicef ambassadors promoting its work with children in areas of poverty.

Australia blasted into the stadium with a screaming version of Back in Black by AC/DC, but according to reports Lorde's Royals was blasted out while the Australian team were still in making their entrace.


The Cook Islands and Fijians followed in bright traditional outfits.

Continuing the Oceania countries were Kiribati and Nauru.

The New Zealand team, lead by a beaming Valerie Adams then entered the stadium. The team was wearing black suits - pants for the men and knee-length skirts for the women - with white shirts underneath.


Valerie Adams, the New Zealand Flag bearer, leads the New Zealand Commonwealth Games Team into Celtic Football Park. Photo / Greg Bowker

Niue, dressed in bright yellow followed, then the smallest nation in the competition, Norfolk Island.

The Samoan team looked relaxed in blue and white tracksuits as they walked the stadium. The Solomon Islands, which joined the Commonwealth in 1978 arrived in colourful green tops.

The Tongan athletes jumped as they joined the parade, with one athlete holding a Celtics football top. The sun set as the Vanuatu team entered the stadium, donning yellow and black outfits. Kylie Minogue's hit Can't Get You Out Of my Head brought the team in. Botswana lead the first of the African teams into the stadium - fully clad in blue. They were followed in by Cameroon.

Ghana and Kenya came in smiling and waving to the crowd. The Lesotho team wearing red and green triangle-shaped hats came dancing into the stadium, followed by Malawi. The Mauritians and Mozambique teams greeted the crowds. The Namibians, with 30 athletes arrived, wearing white, blue, red and green.Nigeria then arrived to thunderous applause from the crowd.


The New Zealand Commonwealth Games Team arrive into Celtic Football Park. Photo / Greg Bowker

The Rwanda team looked stunning in white outfits.Sierra Leone followed, wearing green hats and striking blue and white striped tops. A cheer erupted as the South African team joined the parade, wearing bright yellow shirts.

Swaziland continued the bright outfit theme with sky blue and red tops.Tanzania was then welcomed to the stadium in black vests and either green or yellow tops. The Ugandan team waved wildly to the audience as it made its way into the stadium, followed by the last of the African nations, Zambia.

The Caribbean nations then followed with Anguilla leading the group. Antigua and Barbuda was the second Caribbean team out, followed by the Bahamas, looking striking in bright blue.The smiling Barbados team then joined in, wearing yellow and blue jackets, with dark pants.

British Virgin Islands' women athletes donned long white dresses, and the men smart white shirts. The Cayman Island team followed, with one athlete performing a back flip to the delight of the crowds.


Performers sing and dance during the opening of Commonwealth Games. Photo / Greg Bowker

Dominica, wearing red and green then made its arrival.Grenada athletes looked smart in green suit vests and yellow shirts. And a cheer echoed around the stadium as the Jamaican team entered the stadium.

Montserrat and St Kitts and Nevis joined the parade. They were followed by St Lucia, dressed in a traditional white outfit and red kilts.St Vincent and the Grenadines entered the stadium, followed by Trinidad and Tobago, shining bright in red. Turks and Caicos Islands athletes danced as they joined the parade.

- APNZ

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