The Commonwealth Games - Manchester 2002.
|Seeing as the games were held in the UK for the first
time in ages, Ian and I decided that we should go support them,
and went to visit for the second weekend of the games.
On Friday evening we managed to get into the Rugby 7's competition, and saw the best teams in the world (such as New Zealand and Fiji) playing. The first picture just shows a shot of the City of Manchester stadium, built especially for the games and to be used afterwards as a home ground for Manchester City Football club. The Second picture shows an England player going over for a try against the Cook Islands.
We watched the initial pool stage of the tournament - saw England play and win twice - so that was quite pleasant. And with the events we managed to get to see, it was the only time we saw England doing well.
Like everyone else - we picked a second and third country to support - In our case it was Trinidad and Tobago (because we both had T&T T-Shirts with us) and Niue island. But the Niue, with its population of about 2000 people is everyone's favorite :)
|On Saturday we went to see the wrestling at the GMEX center.
During the day we saw the pool stages, and then watched some of the
finals in the evening. We saw a number of English wrestlers
participate - but none did particularly
well. the strongest nations were India and Canada.
India took three golds and one silver, while Canada
took the other gold and the rest of the silvers that night.
But we were treated to some high quality
wrestling, and saw a couple of world champions fight.
|Sunday was the Triathlon, and it was stereo-typical Manchester
weather. Grey, wet and generally not too pleasant.
But having said that - the weather Friday and Saturday
was great - so no complaints from us.
It took us ages to get there - mainly because I misread some signs and finished up parked in central Manchester, rather than at Salford Quays. However, we jumped on a MetroLink Tram and shot off across the city to get to the venue in time to catch the second and third elements of the race.
While we are on the subject - public transport for the games was superb. Manchester has a fantastic tram system that had extra trams running and running later, and the organizers set up a series of free shuttle buses that traveled from Central Manchester out to the Stadium. There was never a long wait (even coming back from the Rugby on Friday evening, when the whole stadium emptied at once) and everyone was friendly and helpful.
Well done Manchester, you organized it all very well.
The bottom picture shows our favorite tri-athlete, well everyone's favorite tri-athlete really. He rode all the way around the cycle track making a 'thumbs-up' to all the cheering spectators, all 100,000 of them according to the estimates. Then during the running element of the race, he was slapping palms with anyone who held a hand out.
This is his second circuit of the 3.3km track and he is still slapping hands. You can just see Ian applauding him, and getting ready to hold his hand out for Eugene's touch ....
By the way - the stadium in the background is Old Trafford. Home of the world renowned Manchester united ....
|Then there are always the silly moments
that make a trip special. The first picture shows
Ina in a Dutch pancake house. We were both
impressed when the served us up pancakes as large as the plate
Ian is holding. We had some time between the two
wresting sessions on Saturday - so caught the Scooby Doo
movies and had these huge pancakes for tea ....
Ian wore that England flag on his head all weekend, and was proudly and exuberantly supporting England. And all the other home countries, and just about anyone else who looked to be trying hard. I did pretty much the same thing - except I had a baseball cap with the Cross of St George on ...
Then as we were leaving on Sunday we found this advert for a match between Manchester United and Boca Juniors from South America. Ian couldn't make up his mind whether he wanted to go see the match - so whether he should cast scorn 'cos it was Man U ...
In the end - we decided not to do either :)