Colour, gaiety mark opening spectacle

Published : 9:22 am  April 5, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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Commonwealth Games 2018


By S. R. Pathiravithana reporting from Gold Coast  

The XXI Commonwealth Games opening ceremony was inspiring with around 35,000 spectators crowding the Carrara Stadium in Gold Coast Australia, yesterday. 

The traditional Yugambeh Nation elder, Patricia O’Connor, delivered the welcome speech in the presence of Prince Charles the Prince of Wales and Camellia the Dutches of Cornwall in the absence of the Senior Royal duo of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip.

Then came the march past of the estimated 6,600 athletes from 70 different Commonwealth Games geared in their National costumes. 

The 139 member strong Sri Lankan squad was led by weightlifter Chinthana Vidanage.

The games proper will begin today with the weightlifting being in the radar for the Lankans as they are the biggest medal hopes of the island nation. 

The games on the list for tomorrow will be gymnastics (artistic), badminton, boxing, cycling, squash, swimming, table tennis and weightlifting.

The Games at beachside Gold Coast give Australia a timely opportunity to repair their sporting reputation after a cheating scandal in cricket left the country reeling.

LATE-CITY-DM-4-6The competition across 23 different sports should soothe the trauma of the cricket row, after a player was caught doctoring the ball with sandpaper.

Enthusiasm is not universal, however, and Aboriginal protesters held up the final stages of the Games’ baton relay with a sit-in along its route in Gold Coast.

Organisers insist the Games, which started life as the British Empire Games in 1930, are still relevant in the modern world, pointing to the move to an equal number of Men’s and Women’s medal events.

For Australia, displacing eternal rivals England – the 2014 table-toppers – at the head of the medals tally would be the perfect tonic after their cricketing calamity.