Party opens Glasgow's European Championships

Fireworks over George SquareImage source, Getty Images

Glasgow's biggest sporting event since the Commonwealth Games has kicked off with fireworks, music, dancing - and rain - at the opening party.

For the first time, existing European championships for cycling, gymnastics, rowing, swimming, triathlon and athletics are together in one event.

The Great Big Opening Party took place in Glasgow's George Square.

A cultural programme featuring live music, dance, theatre and visual art will run throughout the 11-day event.

Image caption,
The Great Big Opening Party featured performances from C Duncan. Nina Nesbitt, The Ayoub Sisters and Sacred Paws

Crowds gathered in George Square to watch performers including Nina Nesbitt begin the countdown to the competition which opens on Thursday.

Compere Sanjeev Kohli joked he had arranged the wet weather to keep in line with the traditional west Scotland climate.

The actor, who was accompanied by sports broadcaster Alison Walker, paid tribute to the thousands of volunteers supporting the event which is being co-hosted by Berlin.

He said: "10,000 people applied to volunteer, 4,000 of you got in, and a lot of you are here today. Thank you so much for your efforts, we really appreciate it."

Earlier Nevis Ensemble, Scotland's street orchestra, had made its way through the streets of Glasgow, giving performances at Buchanan Street and Central Station.

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The competition will span 12 venues including sites outside Glasgow - with open water swimming at Loch Lomond, triathlon at Strathclyde Country Park, golf at Gleneagles and diving in Edinburgh.

The championships begin on Thursday with track cycling, rowing and artistic gymnastics.

Those expected to compete include swimmer Adam Peaty, gymnast Max Whitlock and cyclist Laura Kenny.

Glasgow 2018 chiefs said tickets were selling out fast across the events and urged sports fans to book up in advance to avoid disappointment.

Image source, PA
Image caption,
The opening event took place in Glasgow's George Square

Pubs, clubs and restaurants across Glasgow will be able to open for an extra hour during the championships.

Those travelling during the days of competition are being encouraged to plan ahead as trains and motorways will be busier than normal.

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