Games close in blaze of glory
Published: Monday 8th August 2011
The Lanarkshire 2011 International Children's Games closed the same way it opened - in a blaze of glory.
Enthusiasm, excitement and a sense of real pride and joy with the real sense of being part of such a fantastic international extravaganza epitomised the whole event from when the athletes arrived on August 3 until they left on August 8.
ICG President Torsten Rasch said: "I would like to thank all our friends in Lanarkshire for doing such a wonderful job in organising this outstanding 45th International Children's Games.
"Over the last few days - wherever I have gone - everyone knew about the Games. This is what we have never experienced before. So thank you very much for hosting these Games.
"Around the world Scotland is famous for its whisky. But I would like to add that Lanarkshire is a really first class place for international sports events.
"Lanarkshire deserves a gold medal for presenting an outstanding Children's Games. And when you all go home please tell everyone what a great experience you had here in Lanarkshire."
Coaches from around the world also had praise for the Games.
Karen Timothy from the Coventry team said: "The Games have far surpassed our expectations, from the opening ceremony to the final day, it has been faultless. The children at the track have been superb in their approach to the competition, and I have been privilege to watch future Olympic stars in the making.
And for many it was the great welcome that all the teams received from their hosts as the Games progressed.
Terry Lakes from the Marion USA squad added: "The welcome of the people of Lanarkshire has left us humbled. Their willingness to help and talk is something that we don't get too often back home in the USA, but it is something that we can learn from. As for the competition it has been so rewarding to watch the kids slug it out with a smile on their faces."
That is probably one of the lasting memories for everyone at the Games - win or lose - everyone smiled no matter what and enjoyed every moment of their time in Lanarkshire. Even when it rained on the last day it couldn't wipe the smiles away.
Clarabelle Koh Pei, one of the Singapore bronze medal badminton team, said: "Winning a bronze was a great moment for us as it's the first time we've competed in the International Children's Games.
"And it was great being here in Lanarkshire and I really like the rainy weather, ours is too hot!"
Apart from all the competition and the medals, the Games proved very successful in its other role of introducing young people to other country's customs and cultures.
Cierra Torosantucci, one of the girls' footballers from Hamilton, Canada, said: "It's been really fun meeting lots of people from countries all around the world, finding out about their different cultures and languages."
And Patricia Campbell, a coach with Waterloo Canada, added: "What can you say. The Games have proved to be everything we could have wished for. The organisation was first class which helped the athletes settle in very quickly and enjoy the experience.
"And my athletes are going home with contacts from around the world, with hopefully friends for life from across the globe - it just doesn't get better than that."