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Games off to flying start at opening ceremony

Games off to flying start at opening ceremony

The world came together tonight at the opening ceremony of the Lanarkshire 2011 International Children's Games.

More than 8000 people enjoyed the highly anticipated opening ceremony tonight which celebrated the start of the 45th International Children's Games.

The Games were launched in spectacular style as a capacity crowd watched 77 cities parade through Motherwell's Fir Park stadium.

Performances included a session from Scottish bag-rock sensations Skerryvore, a stunning display by 400 local dancers and singers, and the raising of the ICG flag before a show stopping firework display brought the event to a dramatic close.

The athletes and 6000 spectators also saw motivational messages from sporting superstars including Sir Alex Ferguson, Andy Murray, Lord Seb Coe and Sir Chris Hoy.

And the Games anthem Ode to Joy was sung in Gaelic and English by choristers from the Glasgow Islay, Cumbernauld and Stirling Gaelic Choirs and the Glasgow Gaelic Musical Association. The performance was conducted by Kirsteen Grant with Gaelic translation by Kenna Campbell.

Councillor Jim Smith, joint chair of the Lanarkshire 2011 organising committee, said: "Watching all the teams parading through the stadium was a wonderful sight and made all the hard work worthwhile. The tournament hasn't started yet but already friendships are being made from around the globe. It was a great sight to see the Macau judo coach giving advice to an athlete from Uzhgorod in Ukraine.

"We want the Games to leave a lasting sports legacy in Lanarkshire but we also want to see young people establish friendships and its wonderful watching that happen so quickly and easily. We're all set up for an amazing three days of sport and I hope as many people as possible come out to watch these fantastic athletes.

And Councillor Jackie Burns, joint chair of the Lanarkshire 2011 organising committee, added: "Tonight has been a huge success and it has showcased Lanarkshire in the best possible way. Just looking around the full stadium its clear to me that Lanarkshire has got right behind these Games and the enthusiasm around the place is just magnificent.

"Everyone here wants their team to do well - and I know every athlete has trained exceptionally hard. But just seeing so many friendships being made is a wonderful sight. I think everyone involved will have enough memories from these Games to last them a lifetime."

Paul Bush, OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland, said: "I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the competitors and team staff who are here in Lanarkshire for the International Children's Games.

"This event provides a wonderful opportunity for young people from around the world to get active and experience some of Scotland's first class sporting facilities. Over the next few days they will see why Scotland is recognised as a world class events destination and perhaps we will welcome some of this week's athletes back to compete in future international events that we stage."

Remember all the film from the Games will become available on YouTube and photographs on the ICG flickr pages in the course of the next few days - so keep checking!

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