Commonwealth Games. More than 4,500 athletes from 71 Commonwealth nations and territories paraded in a one-hour journey from the Athlete’s Village in Dalmarnock in southeast of Glasgow, which is close to Celtic Park.
For those watching on television, the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony was spectacular.
For some athletes, who were the main actors in the Wednesday night function, it was a horrible experience. The ceremony was staged at Celtic Park, about one kilometer from the Athletes Village.
That meant the sportsmen had to walk, in long, clogged queues, to the venue. The teams were organised in alphabetical order per continent. That placed Uganda way behind in the line. The Ugandan men were dressed in white robes (kanzus) and black blazers and the women showcased the traditional kikoyi.
They were smashing.
But somehow along the way, stuck in the human traffic, the weather changed. What had been a warm evening turned cold with strong wind.
Even if its summer at the moment, it still gets too cold for most African visitors. The women, whose wear left a larger part of the upper body exposed, were the most affected. They froze but had to withstand the cold and Uganda got a rousing welcome into the stadium with captain Charles Sekyaaya lifting the flag.
But runners Halima Nakaayi, Emilly Nanziri, Lenia Shida and their chaperon Margaret Ouma, couldn’t last the distance. They made their way out of the stadium before Queen Elizabeth II declared the Games open.
Vice President Edward Ssekandi, who had earlier in the day visited Team Uganda’s base, was among the dignitaries at the ceremony.
“I have assessed. You have stamina, you have swagger. I am sure you will make Uganda proud,” Ssekandi told the athletes at the Games Village. He visited alongside Uganda’s High Commissioner to UK, Joyce Kikafunda, and sports minister Charles Bakkabulindi.