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Highlights and lowlights of the Commonwealth Games

Published on Aug 4, 2014 5:35 PM
 
Fireworks light up the sky during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Hampden Park in Glasgow, Scotland, on Aug 3, 2014. Hailed as the "best ever" Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 has enthralled live crowds and audiences the world over with the emergence of new stars and continued domination of stalwarts. -- PHOTO: AFP

Hailed as the "best ever" Commonwealth Games, Glasgow 2014 has enthralled live crowds and audiences the world over with the emergence of new stars and continued domination of stalwarts. We look at the highs and lows of the 11-day showpiece in Scotland's biggest city.

Highlights:

1) The Ross-atron

Pre-Games hype revolved around Scottish swimming star Michael Jamieson, an Olympic silver-medallist tipped to shine on home soil. But he was upstaged by unheralded youngster Ross Murdoch, who stormed to gold in the 200m breaststroke and a bronze in the 100m breaststroke. His emotional medal ceremony is the most cherished moment for many locals.

2) All's Fair in Love and Sport

The concurrent staging of para-events with the main calendar gave their athletes well-deserved prime-time attention in front of raucous crowds. Visually-impaired Scot Libby Clegg's triumph in the women's 100m T12 final was standing-ovation worthy, earning a roar surpassing that for Usain Bolt.

3) Bolt shines once again

The eyes of the Commonwealth were glued to the world's fastest man from the moment he landed in Glasgow. For all his off-track shenanigans, Usain Bolt is insatiable on it, leading Jamaica to the 4x100m relay gold in a Games record time of 37.58sec.

4) Caring Clyde-siders

The thousands of volunteers stationed at venues and train stations kept smiling in pouring rain as well as sweltering heat. Named after the famous river that runs through the industrial city, these men and women passed with flying colours in offering help to spectators, media and visiting officials.

5) Singapore's Young Lions

From the Republic's point of view, while fewer medals were won compared to 2010, the latest class of athletes showed plenty of promise. Joseph Schooling won the country's maiden swimming medal, while 14-year-old debutant Martina Lindsay Veloso placed a creditable fifth in the 10m air rifle. Singapore's fastest woman Shanti Pereira qualified as the youngest of the 200m semi-finalists, earning praise from eventual champion Blessing Okagbare.

Lowlights:

1) Don't eat that!

In the days leading up to the opening ceremony, chaos reigned at the Athletes' Village as staff fell ill after consuming food at the canteen. Thankfully, the outbreak was contained and no athletes were affected.

2) Get the Bolt Out

Allegedly referring to the Games as a "bit s***" was not the greeting Scots were expecting from the Fast One. Usain Bolt later denied making the comment but the damage was done for some locals, who will not tolerate any criticism against Scotland's proud heritage and tradition from anyone, even a six-time Olympic champion.

3) No Mo

The prayers of many had apparently been answered when long-distance king Mo Farah declared himself fit to compete at Hampden Park. But days before his 5,000 and 10,000m outings, the Olympic champion pulled out to the dismay of broadcasters and athletics fans alike.

4) We Missed You, Sun

Britain's notorious weather unfortunately took centre stage for several days of the extravaganza. Chilly rain and blustery winds were not the kind of summer athletes and spectators were hoping for. Several events had to be delayed, adding to the jam of an already-packed schedule.

5) Coaches or villains?

The coaches of Chika Amalaha, the 16-year-old Nigerian weightlifter who was stripped of her gold medal after a positive dope test, should be banned from the sport for life, basically for drugging a young athlete.

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