Let the Games begin… With the BTSport-sponsored SJA International Media Reception having been staged yesterday evening, all’s set to go in Glasgow, reports PHILIP BARKER. Photos: JULIAN FINNEY/Getty Images
David Grevemberg, the 2014 Commonwealth Games chief, joined reporters from throughout the Commonwealth at our special pre-Games reception at the Rotunda restaurant in Glasgow last night and underlined the media’s importance to the event.
“You are absolutely critical to the success of these Games and getting out some of these tremendous stories,” Grevemberg told the assembly of SJA members and guests attending this free event.
“I am so so happy to have such interest in what is going to be a fantastic Commonwealth Games. As an American within the Commonwealth family, and these are my fourth Commonwealth Games, it has been an interesting conversation for me,” he said. “I am very very proud we have built a fantastic launchpad.”
Grevemberg takes over as Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive in the autumn. He will move to London after the organisation voted to stay in the capital.
Journalists including many of our Scottish members were welcomed by the SJA’s vice-chairman Janine Self at our specially selected venueon the banks of the Clyde. Brian Oliver, the former Observer sports editor, was on hand to reveal a number of historic aspects of the Games, including The Queen’s favourite competitor.
Her Majesty – who breaks down some new barriers tonight when she attends the opening ceremony at Celtic Park – was said to have really taken to 1970s weightlifter Precious McKenzie. On one occasion, her next engagement was delayed by an hour as she insisted on staying to watch McKenzie complete his competition.
Oliver’s book, The Commonwealth Games: Extraordinary Stories Behind the Medals offers many further fascinating details from the early days when these were known as the Empire Games. Many of his tales feature the smaller nations, including the Norfolk Islands’ population of just 1,700. The team they’ve sent to compete in bowls in Glasgow includes two direct descendants of Fletcher Christian, notorious as the man who led the mutiny on the Bounty.
Earlier, our day in the Main Media Centre was enlivened by the appearance of Sir Roger Moore, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador who, I am told, is more famous for having attended the same school as the SJA’s Secretary.
Sir Roger was in town to promote UNICEF’s role in tonight’s opening ceremony. The third 007 was in fine form, although he ruled out a London 2012-style entry to the stadium.”At the moment there are no plans for me to be involved. Sadly, I am allergic to helicopters,” he said.
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UPCOMING SJA EVENTS
Mon Sep 15: SJA Autumn Golf Day, Muswell Hill GC – Book your place now. Non-members very welcome
Thu Dec 11: SJA British Sports Awards, sponsored by The National Lottery, at the Grand Connaught Rooms