Commonwealth 2014: The People’s Games

As the curtain fell on the 2014 Commonwealth Games, with a spectacular firework display which lit up the skyline of Glasgow, we were left with a poignant reminder of all that can be achieved through the hard work and determination of human-kind.

In just 11 days, over 5,000 athletes from 71 member states of the Commonwealth competed for 261 gold medals.  We saw dazzling displays of speed, strength, skill and stamina in a variety of different sports and for the first time ever, para sports were integrated into the Games.   Often dubbed the ‘Friendly Games’, this title did nothing to dissuade the performances of these sports men and women as competitive spirit took hold and lucky spectators were treated to inspiring performances and stunning wins.

None of the above would have been possible without the Clyde-siders; the 15,000 volunteers, chosen from over 50,000 applicants, who came from all over the UK to help make the Games a success.  Launching themselves into their respective roles with a ‘gallus’ attitude, these individuals made sure that everyone in the vicinity were aware that “People Make Glasgow”.

But the athletes and volunteers are not the sole heroes of the Games.  The British public have also played a significant part by supporting the UNICEF ‘Put Children First Appeal’ which aims to change and save the lives of children throughout the Commonwealth.  Announced at many of the major events, the appeal is reported to have raised in excess of £5million towards making sure children in all of the Commonwealth nations and territories are helped and looked after – an amazing achievement!

And as the competition closed, the athletes, volunteers and the general public came together to celebrate their successes at the closing ceremony on Sunday evening.  The fun-filled evening was a culmination of all the hard work and determination by so many which had Prince Imran, President of the Commonwealth Games Federation, branding Glasgow 2014, the best Games ever.

It seems that the Gold Coast of Australia has a lot to live up to for the next Games, held there in 2018.

Evonne McLaughlin