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Searching for medals and a kilt of course

Thursday, July 24, 2014
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, left, smiles as she takes her position for the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland, yesterday. AP Photo

It was too good to last, too nice to be always true, too tasty to forever please my immense appetite. Alas, it was neither food nor the hotel, but rather the Glasgow weather, which in a matter of hours was transformed from bright and sunny to cold and colder.


Politics is not a distant relative of sports, as some would like us to believe and even in Scotland for the 20th edition of the Commonwealth Games, there is a belief that the current administration will attempt to use any success of these games in a major referendum on Independence that is due in the months after. Predictably, the arguments that prevail that it is not so have also been heard before and most intelligent people are not buying it in Glasgow. Everyone, it appears, understand the importance of sports in motivating a nation in one direction or another.


Team T&T is expected to have its largest contingent of 127 athletes here while host Scotland will have 310 participants. They have targeted 34 medals.


Scotland’s economy has been derailed by the economic crisis from 2008-2010 and is yet to recover, with a number of river related industries collapsing during this period. Yet remarkably, the Scottish people have welcome smiles on their face. I have began to understand former T&T Olympic president Larry Romany’s prediction that this would be one of the best organised Games ever.


There is a noticeably less vociferous presence of Jamaican fans, supporters and even media, than at any Games I have covered over the years, which could mean a number of things. Track and field does not start until Sunday after the culmination of the World Juniors Championships in Oregon, USA.


Today will be our first day of real action, after the opening ceremony was completed at Celtic Park, home of the perennial Scottish football champions, Celtic, yesterday.


Over 1,500 people were involved in the opening ceremony and with famous sons and daughters of the soil such as Rod Stewart and reality TV star Susan Boyle, the Scottish pride rang out with joy. The presence of the Queen only added to the atmosphere.


Watching Sir Chris Hoy, the hometown hero, with six Olympic gold medals in cycling and former Scottish footballer now Scottish manager Gordon Strachan was symbolic of the occasion. Both men looked emotional as their country celebrated their lifestyle and story with an international audience.


First in action for T&T will be swimmers Dylan Carter and George Bovell. Then cyclists Njsane Phillip and Quincy Alexander. Also in action will be our netballers against Barbados while the men’s hockey team battle England and the women play South Africa. Squash, table tennis and triathlon round off a busy day for team T&T.


As for me, duty calls. My mission to find a suitable Scottish kilt, the traditional one, that fits, continues. Some of the colours are far too flambouyant for my liking. The road to getting what I desire will not be easy, but like our athletes at these Games, I will persevere. 


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