Athletes from the Maldives took part in the opening ceremony for the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow yesterday.
The 23-strong team paraded alongside j ust under 5000 fellow competitors from 71 nations and territories.
The games were officially opened by Queen Elizabeth after singers Susan Boyle and Rod Stewart were joined by a giant kilt in a ceremony celebrating Scottish culture.
Following the conclusion of the official baton relay, Queen Elizabeth noted that the baton represented “a calling together of people from every part of the Commonwealth and serves as a reminder of our shared ideals and ambitions as a diverse, resourceful and cohesive family.”
Hassan Saaid – the holder of the Maldives’ record for the 100m – carried the national flag into Celtic Park where the team was greeted by a crowd of 40,000.
Saaid – a competitor in the London Olympics in 2012 – recently returned from a year of training in Jamaica, during which time he beat his personal best and again broke the Maldives national record.
Saaid and Hussein Inaas will compete in track events, while the Maldives will field six competitors in Badminton, six in table tennis, four in swimming, and five in shooting events.
Badminton player Maisa Ismail is the youngest member of the team, aged just 15-years-old while Ismael Shafeeq is the most senior Maldivian competitor and will take part in the rapid fire pistol shooting event.
17-year-old Mohamed Naseem, from Hithadhoo in Addu City, is the sole competitor from the southern atolls. Naseem will compete in both the men’s singles and doubles events in addition to the mixed doubles.
The Maldives’ swimmers were the first to compete today, with three national records falling.
Aminath Shajan broke her own national record in the 200m women’s freestyle event, Aishath Sajina set a record time for the 50m breaststroke, and Nishwan Ibrahim became the fastest Maldivian male in the 50m butterfly event
Despite consisting of 53 member states – which make up just under one third of the global population, the games include additional territories competing under their own flags.
The largest team sent to Scotland for games is Australia’s, made up of 417 athletes, while Brunei has entered just one competitor to compete in the games