THE 20th edition of the Commonwealth Games got off with much pomp and gaiety on Wednesday while the real action kicked off earnestly on Thursday.
As the 6,500 athletes from 71 nations battle it out for gold and glory over 11 days, let’s take a brief study tour about this multi-sport event that’s been dubbed the Friendly Games.
Firstly, the Commonwealth Games is the third biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics and Asian Games.
The Glasgow Games features 17 sports, of which Malaysia are only taking part in 14.
This is also the third time that Scotland is hosting the Games. Edinburgh hosted it in 1970 and 1986.
Glasgow won the bid to host the Games after it beat the city of Abuja in Nigeria by 47-24 votes during the bidding process in November, 2007.
And what about the mascot for the Glasgow Games?
Well, Clyde, as the mascot is called, is a thistle named after the river which flows through the centre of the city of Glasgow.
For those who don’t know what a thistle is, well, it’s a wild plant that has sharp points on its leaves and purple, yellow or white flowers (don’t worry, I Googled it myself!).
It was chosen because of its “Scottish symbolism and Glaswegian charm and likeability”.
So, there you go - some interesting facts about the Glasgow Games.
With 17 sports taking place over 11 days, it can be quite difficult to choose what to see and who to watch.
But I have listed down the five events/personalities I would love to watch at these Games (time permitting, of course).
Top of the list is six-time Olympic gold medallist and the world’s top sprinter Usain Bolt of Jamaica. He is definitely the biggest attraction at these Games.
I bet everyone will be converging on the athletics venue – Hampden Park to catch a glimpse of the world’s fastest man.
Sadly, he will only be in action in the 4x100m event.
Still, I am not going to miss watching the 27-year-old thunder-Bolt in action live – even if it could all be over in just 20 seconds!
The second person I’d like to watch is England’s Mo Farah – also in athletics.
However, he has pulled out of the Glasgow Games after failing to recover from a recent illness.
He won the 5,000m and 10,000m gold medals at the London Olympics in 2012 and was supposed to run both the distances in Glasgow.
So, I guess I will have to be satisfied with watching another Olympic champion – David Rudisha – compete in the 800m event.
Rudisha, of course, is famous for the way he ran the 800m race in London. He set a world record of 1:40.91 although he had no pacemaker. It’ll be great if I can watch this Kenyan in full flow at Hampden Park.
The third sport I’d like to catch is rugby Sevens.
It doesn’t get any better than watching 14 super-fit men battling it out in what usually are fast and furious – and normally high-scoring – games.
Malaysia have a team in rugby Sevens but it’s New Zeland I want to watch when the two-day competition is held at the Ibrox Stadium – the home of Scottish football’s fallen giants Glasgow Rangers – on Saturday and Sunday.
New Zealand are going for a high-five – having won the gold in the last four editions.
Of course nothing beats watching our own Malaysian heroes and heroines in action.
I will probably try to catch our two heroines – squash ace Nicol David and diver Pandelela Rinong – go for gold.
The 30-year-old Nicol won the gold in New Delhi four years ago and looks good to repeat that feat in the singles. This time, though, she will also be seeking to win Malaysia’s first-ever medal in women’s doubles with Low Wee Wern.
With diving being held at the Royal Commonwealth Pool in Edinburgh, which is about an hour’s drive from Glasgow, it’s going to be difficult to catch Pandelela in action.
Well, anyway, that’s my top-five must-see sports. Whether I can actually find the time to watch them is another matter all together.
Sport editor R. Manogaran finds the Scots are very systematic in the organisation of the Games. Everything is planned to run like clockwork and everything (well, almost everything) is run according to the book!