The first representatives of Team Scotland were officially welcomed to the Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village today (Wednesday July 16).
Each team from the 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth is welcomed to the Village in a special ceremony led by the Village Chieftain.
Chieftain and Scottish rugby legend Gavin Hastings was on hand to preside over Team Scotland’s ceremony at the Village in Dalmarnock.
Also there to welcome representatives of Team Scotland were senior representatives of Glasgow 2014 Games Partners including Shona Robison Cabinet Secretary for Sport and Commonwealth Games, Glasgow Lord Provost Sadie Docherty and Glasgow City Council Leader Gordon Matheson
The ceremony included a welcome by Gavin Hastings, an exchange of gifts by Lord Provost Sadie Docherty on behalf of the people of Glasgow and a performance of dance and theatre by the National Youth Theatre. The Scotland team flag was raised and the Scottish anthem Flower of Scotland played.
Team Welcome Ceremonies are a key occasion for athletes, team officials and their guests. It acknowledges their journey to the Games and marks the start of their residency in the Village.
There are up to six team welcome ceremonies per day with the busiest days being July 21 and 22.
Gavin Hastings is one of several Chieftains at the Village. The long-standing custom at Athletes’ Villages is to appoint a Village Mayor who takes on an honorary role of representing the Organising Committee in the Village. For the first time, Glasgow 2014 is injecting an element of Highland Games tradition into the custom with the official representatives being known as ‘Chieftains.’ In a further break with tradition, the Glasgow 2014 village has more than one “Chieftain”, officiating on different days throughout the Games period, to enable a number of personalities and athletes to welcome and support the 71 teams.
As well as Gavin Hastings, the Chieftains include: Scotland’s most successful Olympian Sir Chris Hoy, Gold Medallist rower Katherine Grainger, Gold Medallist swimmer David Carry, Scotland’s first ever Gold Medallist for gymnastics Steve Frew, Scotland’s most capped hockey player Rhona Simpson and Olympic and Commonwealth hammer thrower Shirley Addison and Mark Beaumont, the adventurer and broadcaster who has met many of the teams on his journey across the Commonwealth with the Queen’s Baton.
The Athletes’ Village is right on the doorstep of Celtic Park, the venue for the Opening Ceremony of the Games, and alongside the new Emirates Arena and Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome.
It covers the same area as London 2012 (approximately 35 hectares), but with 700 lower rise homes in a mixture of styles from detached to semi-detached, terraced and two seven-storey apartment blocks.
It also features a temporary 2,000-seat, 24-hour dining hall and gym, a medical facility, a retail zone and a recreational space.
Glasgow 2014 Chief Executive, David Grevemberg, said:
”Officially welcoming Team Scotland to the Athletes´ Village is a very special moment in the final countdown to the Games. Our home team has spent years preparing and dreaming of the moment and this brings home to all of us that our Games have arrived. We’re genuinely excited to be welcoming them and look forward to outstanding performances from them in in front of their home crowds.”
Michael Cavanagh, Chairman of Commonwealth Games Scotland, said:
“"Team Welcome ceremonies are a key moment for athletes, team officials and guests marking the end of their journey to the Games and the start of their residency in the village. It is fitting that as the home nation, we are seeing Team Scotland as one of the first Teams starting to take up residency and to raise their Team flag in the Athletes' Village.”
Jon Doig, Chef de Mission of Team Scotland, said:
"For our athletes and officials the Team welcome ceremony signifies that Team Scotland are in residence and ready to welcome the rest of our athletes into the Village over the coming week. We are sure this will be the first of many occasions in the weeks ahead that we proudly see the Scottish flag raised and hear our anthem 'Flower of Scotland' played.
Cabinet Secretary for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison, said:
“As we welcome Team Scotland into their home from home for the next few weeks, the Commonwealth Games now feel all the more real. The athletes’ memories of their stay here, the people they will meet from across the world and of being involved in the best Commonwealth Games ever, will last long after the Games have finished.
“Beyond the Games, The Athletes Village will help bring lasting change in the East End of Glasgow demonstrating the legacy of the Games for local communities. The village looks great, the athletes are set and Scotland is ready to cheer them on to success.”
Councillor Gordon Matheson, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said:
“Today marks another special stage in the build up to the Games when Team Scotland comes to the Athletes’ Village, their home for the next few weeks. I am certain they will enjoy their stay in what is a marvellous environment, one that will hopefully help them as they prepare to compete in the Games. I, like all Glaswegians, wish Team Scotland all the best.”