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  :)