Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond has expressed confidence that the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games will be “an inspiration” to cities in Scotland which have the ability to manage the international event well.
Speaking at a press briefing on the eve of the opening of the Games Wednesday, Salmond welcomed the international media to cover the event from July 23 to Aug 3 with 71 Commonwealth countries participating in 261 events of 17 sports, reports Xinhua.
He noted that the 575 million pounds (about $981 million) of the 20th Commonwealth Games’ budget will be “well spent”, with 80 percent of the budget from the Scottish government and 20 percent from Glasgow city council.
“As the 2012 London Olympics was a larger event than the Commonwealth Games, the total budget for London Olympics was billion pounds,” Salmond noted.
The Scottish First Minister also hailed the 2014 Glasgow legacy for regenerating local communities and creating jobs for thousands of young people, as well as the higher international profile and more tourists.
For his part, Stewart Harris, Chief Executive of SportScotland, stressed the sports culture for Commonwealth nations, expecting a well-managed international sports event in Scotland’s largest city.
The opening ceremony Wednesday evening at Celtic Park will witness Queen Elizabeth II read her message in the Baton to welcome the athletes of the Commonwealth.
After a 288-day relay touring about 190,000 km, the relay will conclude at the opening ceremony with Scottish female singer Susan Boyle, who took part in the baton relay in Glasgow, performing for an estimated global television audience of 1 billion people.