“Team Seychelles” begin hunt for medals at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow
UNITED KINGDOM, GLASGOW : A sign for the Commonwealth games is alight during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014. AFP PHOTO / BEN STANSALL
(Seychelles News Agency) - The 20th edition of the quadrennial Commonwealth Games opened last night evening in Glasgow, Scotland.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II opened the games and revealed the secret contents of the message that she had written. “To you the Commonwealth athletes, I send my good wishes for success in your endeavours.” This message was hidden in the Queen’s baton that was paraded in a relay across the entire commonwealth nations. According to the Commonwealth Secretariat the overall budget of the 11-day sporting event that is only second to the Olympics stands at £473.2 million.
The Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles which joined the Commonwealth at independence in 1976 has sent its largest delegation to Glasgow and weightlifting champion Clementine Agricole will be Seychelles standard bearer.
Even though Seychelles joined the Commonwealth in 1976 it was not until 1990 that they first participated in this sporting fest.
Designate minister Vincent Meriton who is accompanying “Team Seychelles” to Glasgow told the press this week that Seychelles will be competing in nine disciplines. “Team Seychelles” which consists of slightly over 70 athletes and officials will make up the 6500 athletes drawn from 71 commonwealth nations, territories and dependencies from Africa, Americas, Asia, Caribbean, Europe and Oceania that will be competing in 17 sports disciplines.
Boxing, badminton, athletics, judo, cycling, squash, weightlifting swimming and table tennis are the nine disciplines that “Team Seychelles” athletes will compete in. Seychelles has never won a gold medal in the competition will compete in nine disciplines.
Seychelles has taken part in the Commonwealth Games since 1990 and is still hoping to win the elusive gold medal. According to the president of the Seychelles Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association (Socgca) Antonio Gopal, “Team Seychelles” hopes to get better results than in the previous outings.
The country’s first medal came in boxing, when Rival Payet won bronze in Victoria, Canada in 1994.
Pugilists Gerry Legras and Roland Raforme powered in their respective lightweight and heavyweight berths to win two silvers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia four years later. The search for the elusive gold has continued ever since. In the 2006 edition held in Melbourne, Australia Janet Georges and Celine Laporte won bronze medals in weightlifting and athletics. And in Delhi, India in 2010 Georges bettered her 2006 feat by winning a silver medal.
The last edition of the Commonwealth Games was last held in Delhi, India in 2010.
It has been a long journey for Glasgow which goes back to 2007. Glasgow was awarded the rights to host the tournament in a tough race against the Nigerian capital, Abuja during the Commonwealth Games Federation General Assembly meeting held in Colombo the capital of Sri Lanka on November 9 2007. Eventually Glasgow won 47-24 votes over Abuja.
The Glasgow Games are expected to erase the bad publicity that was generated during the 2010 Delhi games which were marred with corruption allegations and empty stadiums. More than a billion people are said to have witnessed the opening ceremony of the “friendly games” which were first held in Hamilton Canada in 1930 under the banner “British Empire Games.”
With the change of the political nature of British empire, the games also changed their names to reflect the times. From 1954 to 1966 the games took a new title as “British Empire and Commonwealth Games”.
In 1970 it became “British Commonwealth Games” and four years later it changed to what it is known today the “Commonwealth Games.” The close association of Britain’s Royal family remains the one thing that has never changed about this sporting bonanza
According to Meriton the Seychelles team is not only seeking to better its previous Commonwealth Games record but will using Glasgow to prepare for the 2015 Indian Ocean Games in Reunion.
For “Team Seychelles” the quest for gold has just began.