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The Games' journey to Glasgow

 

We take a look at how the Commonwealth Games has evolved from humble beginnings.

The Commonwealth Games have evolved enormously since Hamilton, Canada in 1930. A variety of cities and nations have played host to the event, and all manner of star names have been born along the way.

It has changed immeasurably since those first days 84 years ago when the inaugural Games were run with just 11 nations and territories competing - made up of 400 athletes and 59 events in aquatics, athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming and wrestling. There are 53 members of the Commonwealth of Nations but there are 71 nations and territories involved in all, including British overseas territories and Crown dependencies.

The Queen's Baton Relay

More than ever before, each and every nation feels included from the outset. Since the 2006 Games in Melbourne, the Queen's Baton has reached every single Commonwealth Games nation pre-Games.

Eight years ago, it was delivered to Her Majesty the Queen by former runner John Landy, the Australian who enjoyed a litany of middle-distance battles with Sir Roger Bannister but was pipped by Bannister to run the first sub-four-minute mile.

What records may be broken in Glasgow remains to be seen but there will be 17 sporting disciplines and 261 events in all, including a record 22 para-sport events.

How Glasgow was chosen

Glasgow won the bid to play host all the way back in 2007. The year before, three cities had put themselves forward: Glasgow, Abuja in Nigeria and Halifax in Canada. Halifax dropped out due to financial constraints which left a two-horse race, which Glasgow won by 47 votes to 24 from the Commonwealth stages.

In all, 4,500 athletes will be in action in Scotland for the Games, 15,000 volunteers will be in place and spectator numbers at the various venues are expected to be over the one million mark.

Games heroes

Over the years, a variety of star names have been born. The athletics sprint events have often taken centre stage and among the stand-out moments were Jamaican Don Quarrie's hat-trick of golds in the 100m from 1970 to 1978 not to mention the absolute dead heat in the 200m between Mike MacFarlane and Allan Wells, which meant the pair had to share gold in Brisbane in 1982.

There are those that have shone through longevity. Scottish bowler Willie Wood was the first man to appear at seven straight Games, a feat equalled by New Zealand shooter Greg Yelavich.

And then there are those that have gone on to greater things away from the sporting stage such as former Naura weightlifter Marcus Stephen, a seven-time gold medallist at Commonwealth level, who then became the Pacific Island nation's president in 2007.

And more recently elsewhere athletes have shone such as SSE Home Nation ambassador Sir Chris Hoy, with his tally of two golds and two bronzes in the Games, and fellow Scot David Wilkie in the pool, who bagged two golds and a silver at the 1974 Games, four years after his bronze in Edinburgh.

Who rises to the top in Glasgow this summer is another matter...