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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Clyde, the thistle (logo) - Commonwealth Games 2014 set to begin

FIFA concluded, Wimbledon is over, India won at Lords (and I have posted on why Dhoni stood 4 yards behind to Ravindra Jadeja) – now a  global TV audience of more than one billion people is expected to watch the event today.  More than 4,500 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories will parade during the curtain raiser. About 2,000 cast members will perform in a ceremony that organisers have promised "will surprise, delight and be uniquely Glaswegian and Scottish". The Games will feature 17 sports in 11 days of competition, which begins on Thursday. The closing ceremony takes place at Hampden Stadium, which has been transformed into an athletics venue, on 3 August 2014.

Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae. Prickles often occur all over the plant – on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. Thistle is the floral emblem of Scotland.

In 1884, while visiting Australia, Lord Rosebery described the changing British Empire, as some of its colonies became more independent, as a "Commonwealth of Nations”.  The Commonwealth developed from the Imperial Conferences. A specific proposal was presented by Jan Smuts in 1917 when he coined the term "the British Commonwealth of Nations"  - it is an intergovernmental organisation of 53 member states that were mostly territories of the former British Empire. The Commonwealth dates back to the mid 20th century with the decolonisation of the British Empire through increased self-governance of its territories. It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which established the member states as "free and equal". The Queen is also the monarch of 16 members of the Commonwealth, known as Commonwealth realms. The other members of the Commonwealth have different persons as head of state: 32 members are republics and five members are monarchies with a different monarch.

It is Commonwealth Games .... and as memory would haunt, the 2010 Commonwealth Games, were held in Delhi, in  October 2010. A total of 6,081 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and dependencies competed in 21 sports and 272 events, making it the largest Commonwealth Games to date.  The  official song of the Games was "Jiyo Utho Bado Jeeto".   India struck it rich, winning 101 medals in total, including 38 Gold medals, securing second position behind Australia. For the first time in the history of the Games India won over 100 medals in total.

Now it is -  2014 Commonwealth Games (officially the XX Commonwealth Games), held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 23 July to 3 August 2014. It will be the largest multi-sport event ever held in Scotland with around 4,560 competing athletes across 17 different sports. There will be 71 participating nations at the 2014 Commonwealth Games with approximately 4,500 competing athletes making it one of the largest commonwealth games staged to date. Gambia, which has withdrawn from the Commonwealth is also participating.  There are a total of 18 sports and 261 medal events that will be contested at Glascow.  Among sport disciplines removed from 2010 include the walking events in athletics, synchronised swimming and Greco-Roman wrestling, while mountain biking will be contested for the first time since 2006. Shooting medal events also dropped from 44 in 2010 to 19.

Clyde, a thistle named after the river which flows through the centre of Glasgow, is the official mascot of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The mascot was designed by Beth Gilmour, who won a competition run by Glasgow 2014 for children to design the Mascot. Clyde’s story is inspired by the past – a real ship called the SS Cameronia built on the Clyde in 1920 - but set in the present day.  Clyde is described as  a cheeky wee thistle who has been nurtured by seafaring Scot, Captain Bristle.  Clyde is also a significant departure from all previous Commonwealth Games mascots, the first time the official mascot has not been an animal, a trend that has continued ever since the first Commonwealth Games mascot for Edmonton in 1978 – a bear called Keyano.

The Queen's Baton Relay, similar to the Olympic Torch Relay, is a relay around the world held prior to the beginning of the Commonwealth Games. The Baton carries a message from the Head of the Commonwealth, currently Queen Elizabeth II. The Relay traditionally begins at Buckingham Palace in London as a part of the city's Commonwealth Day festivities. The Queen entrusts the baton to the first relay runner. At the Opening Ceremony of the Games, the final relay runner hands the baton back to the Queen or her representative, who reads the message aloud to officially open the Games. On this photo is Sudha Singh, the current Indian national record for 3000 m Steeplechase with a mark of 9:45.60, established while winning the Gold in the 63rd National Inter-State Athletic Championships.  At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Singh finished 13th in her steeplechase heat and did not qualify for the finals. Here she is seen holding the baton in front of Tajmahal.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

23rd July 2014.

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