Here’s Your Need To Know As The Commonwealth Games Kicks Off

Glasgow, the stage is yoursIllustration by Sara Andreasson


by Kate Dobinson |
Published on

First up, let's push to one side the mix of Scottish nationalism, BBC strikes, splatters of norovirus and awol Cameroon wrestlers so as not to spoil what’s set to grow into the most exciting Commonwealth Games in its 20 editions.

Here's what you need to know about Glasgow 2014.

People are sort of worried about the referendum getting in the way, but not as much as the newspapers would have you believe**

A very small number of English athletes have approached Team England managers on what to do if heckled by fervent Scots het up by the forthcoming referendum of Scottish independence. Hostility in a competitive environment is hardly something that’s going to vex a professional athlete whose inner demons are likely to be far worse than any boo-hisser on the sidelines.

There's been an outbreak of norovirus but don't worry - bug is being squashed

No sooner is double Olympic champion Mo Farah discharged from hospital after abdominal cramps to compete in the 5,000m and 10,000m, than an outbreak of vomiting bug norovirus takes down 32 workers in the athletes’ village. Luckily, the Dalmarnock site not only has the its own pub, post office and beauty salon, but a handy mini-hospital, and no athletes have yet been affected by the illness, which is mild and under control.

The BBC were thinking about striking instead of airing the games, but they're not any more

Any opening ceremony bloopers (think the fifth Olympic ring failing to burn in Sochi) would have gone unnoticed if a 12-hour BBC strike caused a television ‘blackout’. It’s now confirmed by the Beeb that they're decided against strike action (so we don't run the risk of missing Susan Boyle!) and will be able to watch 3,000 hardworking volunteers perform for 70 attendant nations. But with 1,300 hours of coverage for the Corporation’s biggest Games ever, you’d think it would have been able to draft in some extra staff from somewhere no?

Two member of the Cameroon team disappeared (again) but they've turned up again

Perhaps it was talk of a blackout that made two Cameroon wrestlers think it easier to slip out unnoticed from their halls of residence in Aberdeen, carrying on the sweet pre-match tradition of hide-and-seek that was started by seven vanishing members of the Cameroon team in London 2012. While for Canada, sending 265 charges to Celtic Park for the 11-day competition – the most ever for a Commonwealth Games held outside the country –every single athlete counts.

There's a few familiar faces missing

Meanwhile, Team England may be missing huge stars in retired home favourite Sir Chris Hoy, crestfallen injured cyclist Mark Cavendish and heptathlete Jessica Ennis-Hill who has just given birth to baby Reggie (can she really not compete? Poor effort she’s had the baby now), but their absence will only give our remaining field of exceptional athletes a chance to shine in the Scottish rain.

However, plenty of the London 2012 gang are back

We're looking forward to scorching heptathlete Katarina Johnson-Thompson prove she is more than a stand-in for Jennis; Christine Ohuruogu set the track alight in the 400m relay; 100m sprinter Adam Gemili show what he’s learned since training in a new super-group with sub-ten second runner James Dasalou; and the youngest member of Team GB Jess Judd strive for a PB in the 800m. More famous faces include cyclists Sir Bradley Wiggins, Lizzie Armitstead, Laura Trott and Jess Varnish, the boxer Nicola Adams, diver Tom Daley, and gymnast Louis Smith. Eilidh Child, Scottish track and field athlete is a fierce bet for 400m hurdles gold, and one of 11 Team Scotland athletes to have a lurcher puppy named after her by Dogs Trust Glasgow. And who could forget Mo Farah and the Jamaican Usain Bolt, who we’ve adopted as one of ours, and the fact that Glasgow will see the highest number of para-sport medals in Commonwealth history, with 22 up for grabs across five para-events.

We'll reserve our oesophagus-clenching screams not only for the lawn bowls but for 1,500m talents Laura Weir, Hannah England, 5,000m veteran Jo Pavey and marathoner Alyson Dixon who all take on a world-class field that will pose tough Olympic standard battles.

Follow Kate on Twitter @katedobinson

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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