Glasgow Prepares to Take its Turn on the Sporting World Stage
2014 has certainly been a big year so far for sporting action, what with the Winter Olympics in Sochi, the World Cup in Brazil and the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France both getting underway on UK and Irish soil. And bar golfer Rory McIlroy’s triumph in the Open Championship, with England’s dismal performance in Rio, Andy Murray’s quarter-final defeat in Wimbledon and Chris Froome crashing out of the Tour, all eyes turn to Glasgow for a chance of some British sporting success as next week – Wednesday, 23rd July to be exact – sees the grand unveiling of the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
The main events take place across a number of principal venues across the city. First and foremost is Hampden Park, more commonly known as the official ground to the Scottish football team but transformed during the Commonwealth Games to play prestigious host to the main track and field events taking place from 27th July until 3rd August. As well as the marathon, Hampden Park will also be the venue for the Games’ Closing Ceremony.
Speaking of football grounds and ceremonies, the official Opening Ceremony takes place this coming Wednesday at Celtic Park, home ground to Celtic FC where the Parade of Nations, encompassing some 4,500 competitors, together with the Queen’s Baton Relay will unite to formally open the Games. No talk of Celtic would be complete without mentioning their arch rivals, Rangers, and Ibrox Football Stadium will be the host for the Rugby Sevens tournament scheduled for the 26th and 27th of July.
Next up is the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, venue for the cycling events getting underway between 24th and 27th July and most likely to be a hive of activity as the British athletes looks to cement their place at the top of Commonwealth cycling. And then there’s the Emirates Arena, a custom-built sports arena and the largest of its kind in Europe which will host the badminton competitions scheduled between 24th July and 3rd August. Another purpose built venue is the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, set within Glasgow Green, the city’s oldest park. I’ll let you cunningly deduce what’s taking place there but Glasgow Green also marks the start and finish points of the marathon, the road cycling and time trial events. The Tolcross International Swimming Centre meanwhile hosts all of the swimming competitions bar the diving.
Set against the beautiful backdrop of the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum and the city university is the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre, where the bowls competition will take place between 24th July and 1st August. Usually the official home of the Glasgow Warriors rugby team, Scotstoun Sports Campus meanwhile hosts both the table tennis and squash competitions and located on the banks of the River Clyde, the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) sees the boxing, judo, wrestling and netball competitions unfold. Situated alongside the SECC, the Clyde Auditorium is the venue for weightlifting and powerlifting whilst the Hydro, designed by Sir Normal Foster, will host the gymnastics competitions as well as the netball finals.
Outside of the city, there’s a few events taking place away from Glasgow at satellite venues. Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool hosts the diving competition whilst along the Angus coastline, the shooting competitions will all unfold in Carnoustie. Set in the Clyde Valley, Strathclyde Country Park is the venue for the triathlon, to be held on the 24th of July.
So whether you’re purely an armchair supporter or are planning an extended city break in Glasgow to watch all of the sporting action unfold before you, the 20th Commonwealth Games are most certainly going to provide excitement and entertainment in plentiful supply and are guaranteed to showcase the dynamic city of Glasgow off to its maximum potential.