sport

Commonwealth Games begin

The 20th Commonwealth Games are under way after an electrifying and moving opening ceremony in front of 40,000 people at Celtic Park in Glasgow.

Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Games on a Wednesday evening bathed in summer sunshine, reading a message which had been stored in the Queen's baton, which has been paraded around 70 Commonwealth nations over the past nine months.

Seventy-one nations are to compete across 17 sports over the next 11 days, with more than 4,500 participants making the event the biggest Scotland has ever hosted.

Amongst the colour, there was a sombre, immaculately-observed minute's silence to remember the 298 people who died in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight disaster last week, 82 of whom were from Commonwealth nations.

World-renowned Scottish singers Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle performed live at the ceremony, and six-time Olympic champion Chris Hoy also made an appearance at the home of Celtic Football Club.

Queen Elizabeth II said: "To you, the Commonwealth athletes, I send my good wishes for success in your endeavours.

"You remind us that young people, those under 25 years of age, make up half of our Commonwealth citizens, and it is to you that we entrust our values and our future.

"I offer my sincere thanks to the many organisations and volunteers who have worked diligently to bring these Games to fruition, and indeed to the spectators here in the stadium, and to the millions watching on television.

"Together, you all play a part in strengthening our friendships in this modern and vibrant association of nations.

"It now gives me the greatest pleasure to declare the 20th Commonwealth Games open."

Judo star Euan Burton was Scotland's flag bearer and said: "It was a phenomenal reception when we entered the stadium.

"It's a windy evening and the flag is fluttering high. I'm so proud to be leading the team. It's my first Commonwealth Games and there's no better place for a Scotsman to be."