Scotland

Commonwealth Games: Team Scotland leads opening event

Scotland team at Commonwealth Games Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Eilidh Doyle led the Scotland team during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games

Team Scotland was the first out into the arena for the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia's Gold Coast.

The curtain was raised on the 21st Games at Carrara Stadium at 11:00 BST, or 20:00 local time.

Track and field star Eilidh Doyle carried the flag for Scotland at the event, the first woman to do the job.

The 2014 Games, hosted in Glasgow, saw Team Scotland win a record 53 medals, including 19 golds.

A total of 224 Scottish athletes will compete in the Gold Coast Games, which runs for the next 12 days in the eastern Australian city.

This is Scotland's biggest squad at a Commonwealth Games, and one of the largest at the Games - only the hosts, New Zealand, Canada and England have sent more representatives.

More than 4,500 athletes will represent 71 nations and territories from around the globe in 275 events across 18 sports. Gold Coast 2018 also includes the largest programme of disability sport at a Commonwealth Games.

Image caption Team Scotland was the first group of athletes to take part in the opening ceremony.
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Eilidh Doyle said that being the flag carrier was a "highlight of my career"
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The team received a loud cheer as they entered the Carrara Stadium for the start of the Gold Coast games.

The competition gets under way on Thursday, with 19 gold medal events in swimming, cycling, weightlifting and gymnastics on the first day alone.

Before that, athletes are taking part in Wednesday's opening ceremony, which includes "spectacular, uplifting and surprising moments of theatre, breathtaking visual effects, dancing and music", as well as the finale to the Queen's baton relay.

As the host of the previous games, Team Scotland was the first to emerge into the arena at the Carrara Stadium, leading "the Parade of the Nations".

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Media captionTeam Scotland on series of 'best evers'

The Scots were led out by Doyle, a two-time Commonwealth silver medallist who also captained Great Britain at the 2017 World Championships in London.

The 31-year-old said being chosen by her fellow team members to carry the flag was "a highlight of my career".

Sport Scotland's director of high performance, Mike Whittingham, told BBC Scotland he would be "disappointed" if Scotland did not record its best-ever performance at an overseas Games - setting a target of eclipsing the 29 medals won in Melbourne in 2006.

Alex "Tattie" Marshall is aiming to win his fifth gold in the lawn bowls, which would set a new record for a Scottish competitor - overtaking the four golds won by Allan Wells in athletics events in 1978 and 1982.

Other medal hopefuls for Team Scotland include cyclist Katie Archibald and swimmers Hannah Miley and Ross Murdoch.

The men's artistic gymnastics team is targeting a medal on the first day of the Games, having taken silver in Glasgow four years previously.

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Media captionWhat's in Team Scotland's Commonwealth Games kit bags?

Other competitors to look out for from the home nations include a 67-year-old shooter taking part in his 11th Games and an 11-year-old table tennis player who is still in primary school.

The Scottish government's sports minister Aileen Campbell is in Australia for the opening ceremony. She said Team Scotland had been given "such a warm welcome" at "the friendliest of friendly games".

A new report from Glasgow City Council and the Scottish government has found that hosting the 2014 Games has had a lasting legacy for the city, with venues remaining popular.

Ms Campbell said the "incredible fortnight has had a lasting impact on Scotland and created a legacy that will bring social, cultural and economic benefits for years to come".

However, the report also found that there had been little impact on the number of people who are physically active in Scotland in the wake of the 2014 Games.

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