The members of Australia’s Shooting Team are ready to get down to the serious business of snaring medals after a rousing, fun-filled opening ceremony to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The Scottish hosts were happy to poke fun at themselves in a Games parade that featured a giant haggis, cabers, golf clubs and a creature that may or may not have been the Loch Ness monster. There were also 41 Scottish terriers who shuffled in as canine tartan marchers.
A pumped-up crowd of just more than 40,000 looked on as the joyous mayhem unfolded inside Celtic Park, home ground of soccer giants Glasgow Celtic. The madcap antics almost stole the show from singing luminaries from opposite sides of the pop spectrum, Susan Boyle and Rod Stewart.
The 29-strong Australian Shooting Team for this year’s Games looks to be blessed with a potent mix of youth and experience. Some of them were among the Australian contingent of about 375 athletes, led by flag-bearer Anna Meares, who entered the stadium as AC/DC's ‘Back in Black’ rang out. They formed part of the mass of 4500 competitors from 71 competing countries, who were formally welcomed by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Now that the frivolity and formalities are over, the shooters can head to Carnoustie, on Scotland’s east coast about 145km from Glasgow, to knuckle down to what they came here for. The Barry Buddon Shooting Centre is the venue for the action, with several Australians getting underway on Friday, July 25. Starting off will be Emily Esposito and Lalita Yauhleuskaya in the women’s 10m Air Pistol qualification. Following on will be Paul Adams and Keith Ferguson in the men’s Skeet qualification. Then it will be the turn of Laura Coles and Lauryn Mark in the women’s Skeet. Adding to the initial Aussie thrust will be Jack Rossiter and Dane Simpson in the men’s 10m Air Rifle qualification.