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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Scottish Terriers lead the Nation in CWG Opening Parade - some titbits too....

In most events, the Opening show glitters and Glasgow was no exception – as Commonwealth Games got off to a glittering start.   There is oft repeated phrase ‘It's a dog's life’ –  meaning  life is hard and unpleasant.  There is another phrase associated with dog – ‘dog’s day’….which actually refers to the sultry days of summer.

The Scottish Terrier (also known as the Aberdeen Terrier), popularly Scottie, is a breed that originated in Scotland. They are an independent and rugged breed with a wiry outer coat and a soft dense undercoat.  They are a small breed of terrier with a distinctive shape and have had many roles in popular culture.  These sturdy dogs have short legs; the way it is groomed can make it look even shorter. The head is long in proportion to the rest of the dog. The almond-shaped eyes are small and set well apart. The erect, pointed ears are pricked and set well up on the head ~ and 41 of them were on duty at Commonwealth at Glasgow............ as  each of the 71 competing nations and territories was led into Celtic Park  by a Scottish Terrier wearing a tartan coat emblazoned with the country's name.

There were 41 dogs on duty, with most of them doing a double shift including a quick costume change. Some of the Scotties strode forward with purpose, others scurried from side to side and the shy ones had to be picked up and carried by their owners. The iconic dogs were the defining image of a ceremony that contained plenty of memorable moments. Thirty of the dogs walked around the stadium twice in order to lead out all 71 nations and territories taking part, resulting in a quick five-minute costume change mid-ceremony. The dogs wore a maroon check coat bearing the name of their designated nation, while their owners wore matching wool trousers and skirts. They had been recruited from dog groomers and Scottish Terrier groups, in secret, so as not to ruin the surprise for the global audience.

The 20th Commonwealth Games kicked off to a spectacular opening ceremony in front of 40,000 people at Celtic Park in Glasgow. 71 nations, who will compete across 17 sports over the next 11 days, witnessed an electrifying atmosphere when Glasgow put together a good show on Wednesday night.  Scottish singers Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle performed live at the ceremony, at the same time six-time Olympic champion Chris Hoy also made an appearance at the home of Celtic Football Club.

India, by the virtue of being the previous hosts were the first in the opening ceremony parade around Celtic Park.  The Indian contingent was led by Olympic silver medallist pistol shooter, Vijay Kumar; 221 athletes walked in the background of bollywood songs.  Bangladesh and Malaysia followed – next was the small contingent from Maldives. Australia has incredible record at Commonwealth games and they hae 400 athletes participating this time. Before Kiwiland, there were Nauru, Kiribati, Cook Island and Fiji....

In a break from tradition, the 71 competing nations entered the arena in continental groups, rather than in alphabetical order.  On a sombre note, the Malaysians wore black armbands in tribute to the 298 people who lost their lives when flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine last week.  The ceremony also had a UNICEF fundraising element, with champion Scottish cyclist Sir Chris Hoy and actor Ewan McGregor reminding the crowd - both in the arena and around the world - of the difference they could make to impoverished and ill children throughout the Commonwealth. Ewan introduced the batting maestro – little Master Sachin Tendulkar, who made an appeal on behalf of UNICEF in a short video.

Here are some titbits :
ü  With judo coming back into the Commonwealth Games fold after 12 years, Indian judokas looked a confident lot as they begin their campaign here tomorrow, aiming to produce the best-ever performance by the country in the quadrennial event. This is the third time that judo has been in Commonwealth Games after 1990 in Auckland and 2002 in Manchester and India had won two medals each in both the editions.
ü  Four members of Sri Lanka’s Commonwealth Games team sparked a police response after going for a bicycle ride down one of Scotland’s busiest stretches of motorway.  They were spotted cycling down the M74 before police intervened near the exit for Motherwell and Hamilton and informed them they were breaking the law.

ü  Katarina Johnson-Thompson withdrew after suffering a foot injury.  The 21-year-old is ranked No1 in the world and was the favourite to win gold for England in the heptathlon, but has withdrawn after suffering a 'stress reaction' in her take-off foot for the long jump.
ü  A participant, a gold medallist at that was ruled out of competing in Glasgow... because the defending champion lost her jacket. Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul Halim  was left devastated after being forced to quit Commonwealth Games because her competition jacket was lost.  She had won gold in 10 metre air rifle pairs four years ago... the rules clearly state that a rifle shooter must wear a jacket; Team manager Musa Omar said he was left with no choice but to withdraw Ayuni from competition after the missing luggage, believed to be in London, failed to show in time for Monday’s registration ahead of Thursday’s start of competition.

ü  The jacket of a shooter is there to aid in holding the rifle, ensuring the best accuracy, and to protect.  There are strict rules in shooting when it comes to the proper equipment, as there would be in any major sport. There are rules regarding the jacket, trousers, and even 'undergarments'. Strange that a rule has kept a medallist out of reckoning.
ü  In a first of its kind, male boxers will not wear head guards at the games for first time in 32 years as experts say it is safer without them.  Male boxers have worn head guards since the 1982 Commonwealth Games and now experts say they actually increase the risk of injury, not decrease it. The men will also fight under a pro-style 10-point scoring system as part of rule changes by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) last year.  However, female boxers would still wear as women's boxing makes debut at Glasgow 2014

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

24th July 2014.

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