20th Commonwealth Games Opens With Respect To Flight MH17 Victims

Last update: 24/07/2014

From Farhanah Azmi

GLASGOW, July 24 (Bernama) -- The 20th edition of the Commonwealth Games was officially opened in a spectacular event at the Celtic Park, Wednesday before about 40,000 spectators.

The crowd swamped the Celtic Stadium as early as 5pm local time (12 midnight Malaysian time).

Queen Elizabeth II officially opened the Games and read out a message that had been secretly kept inside the Queen's baton which had been paraded around 70 Commonwealth nations for the past nine months.

The Queen, in her speech, called on those present to "unite" in difficult times as a minute of silence was observed for the victims of the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH17 flight incident.

For the record, 82 of the 298 people who died in the incident were from the Commonwealth nations.

The flag bearer for the Malaysian contingent, Fatehah Mustafa, raised the Jalur Gemilang at half-mast while contingent members wore black armbands on their left arm.

Seven athletes -- Ju Pha Som Net (cycling), Surizan Awang Noh and Fatin Syafiqah Mohd Sukri (women hockey), Nur Fidrah Noh and Fairoz Abd Jabal (lawn bowls) and Farizal Ismail (rugby) -- and two officials, rugby team manager Mohamad Fahmy Abdul Jalil and Malaysia's media attache, Fahmi Omar were clad in the MAS cabin crew uniform in honour of the victims of the crash.

The other members of the contingent were clad in the new "Malaysian Hero" 'baju kurung' and scarf for women athletes and 'Baju Melayu' with 'sampin' for men athletes which were designed by noted Malaysian designer, Melinda Looi.

For this year's edition, the Malaysian contingent comprised 269 athletes and officials.

Of the total of 179 athletes, 135 were elite athletes, five back-up athletes, 30 non-National Sports Council programme athletes and nine Paralympic athletes.

The 11-day Games will feature 17 sports with more than 6,000 athletes from 71 nations competing, making the event the biggest Scotland has ever hosted.

Scotland previously hosted the Games in 1970 and 1986 in Edinburgh.