The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will see 17 sports played over 11 days by athletes from 71 nations and territories representing one third of the world’s population, watched by 1.5 billion people around the world, with more than 1,000 staff and 15,000 volunteers on hand to see that it all runs smoothly.
Many of the Games venues are open to the public already, so if you fancy warming up for the fun here’s where the action will play out.
Tollcross International Swimming Centre
The Tollcross International Swimming Centre opened to the public in May of this year after a £13.8m refurbishment, revealing an additional six-lane, 50m warm-up and training pool alongside the existing Olympic-standard 50m, ten-lane pool, plus 2,000 permanent spectator seats and an enhanced fitness and health suite. The Swimming Centre, located in Tollcross Park in Glasgow’s East End, will provide a permanent competition, training and recreational facility for the local community, schools and athletes alike, with the City of Glasgow Club elite squad, which includes 2014 hopeful Robbie Renwick, training there. Prior to the Games’ swimming events, Tollcross will also host December’s Duel in the Pool, at which the European All Stars (including Scot Michael Jamieson) will take on the USA.
Glasgow National Hockey Centre
Sitting on Glasgow Green and specially designed to host the Glasgow 2014 hockey competition, the £5.5m centre opened in July, by welcoming 250 stick-toting children from schools across Glasgow on to its pitches. The facility features two new International Hockey Federation-standard water-based floodlit synthetic pitches and a grandstand of 500 seats, with spectator capacity going up to 5,000 for the 2014 Games with the addition of temporary stands. The centre will also act as the new headquarters of Scottish Hockey and will be used by Glasgow schools and clubs for training and competition.
Scotstoun Sports Campus
The newly-refurbished Scotstoun Sports Campus in the west of the city, one of Glasgow’s largest sports facilities, will host the Games’ squash and table tennis competitions, with six squash courts which can be converted for use as four doubles courts. During the Games the Scotstoun precinct will also feature a glass-walled show court for squash events, surrounded by 2,500 spectator seats. The campus also boasts a gym, a 25m pool, a 400m running track, eleven tennis courts and ten badminton courts (it’s also the home of the National Badminton Academy) plus a new 845 square metre fitness centre.
Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre
The Lawn Bowls Centre, situated within Kelvingrove Park in Glasgow’s West End and overlooked by Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, has been upgraded to international standards ahead of the Games, with five of the lawns having been reconstructed in preparation for hosting the lawn bowls competitions. The West Pavilion was upgraded in summer 2012 and during the Games there will be seating for 2,500 spectators, while post-Games the facilities will be used as a training centre for clubs.
Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails
The Cathkin Braes Mountain Bike Trails are a new addition to Glasgow’s sporting landscape, with the venue making the most of the varied terrain of Cathkin Braes Country Park, to the south east of the city. The challenging Union Cycliste Internationale-standard 5.5km course was designed in collaboration with world-renowned mountain bike course designer Phil Saxena. The course’s key features have been named by local schoolchildren following a competition that harvested more than 800 entries, with winning names including Brig O’Doom and Broken Biscuits. The trails are now open for public and competition use.
Designed by Lord Norman Foster’s Foster + Partners architects, this £125m arena with its distinctive domed roof is the newest addition to the Glasgow skyline. Sitting by the river at Finnieston alongside the SECC and the Clyde Auditorium (nicknamed the Armadillo), the Hydro will be the venue for the 2014 gymnastics and netball events. The 12,000-seat structure – already dubbed ‘the pie’ by locals – will open on 30 September with a Rod Stewart concert, and will also welcome Fleetwood Mac, Tinie Tempah, Vampire Weekend and the MOBO Awards before any of the Games athletes set foot in it.
The Barry Buddon Shooting Centre
A satellite venue for the games, the Barry Buddon Centre on the east coast near Carnoustie will host the 2014 shooting events. The Centre’s full bore firing range was also used for the Edinburgh 1986 Commonwealth Games, and with the addition of international-standard temporary clay target, pistol and small bore rifle ranges, the venue will allow spectators to experience all the shooting events at one venue. The site is also a wildlife sanctuary, designated a Site of Specific Scientific Interest and an EU Special Area of Conservation.
Emirates Arena, including the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome
The innovative £113m Emirates Arena, which includes the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome, in Glasgow’s East End, has already seen 75,000 people pass through its doors, having hosted events including Glasgow World Cup Gymnastics and the Netball World Premier Cup Challenge. During the Games the arena will host the badminton competition, which will take place across six courts, with seating for 5,000 spectators. The facility is a national training centre for athletics, basketball, netball and volleyball, and home to Glasgow Life’s Sports Development unit; Scotland’s only professional basketball team, the Glasgow Rocks, and the country’s leading netball side, the Glasgow Wildcats.
The Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome has hosted the UCI Track Cycling World Cup and the Scottish National Track Championships, and is working on a bid to host the 2016 World Track Championships. Its 250m track was designed by Ralph Schuermann, one of the world’s foremost track designers.
Strathclyde Country Park
The 400-hectare Strathclyde Country Park, to the south east of Glasgow, will host the Triathlon event, with the manmade Strathclyde Loch being used for the swimming element and the paths and roads being upgraded in 2014 for the cycling and running stages. The park is a popular destination for runners, cyclists, anglers and rowers – it hosted the rowing events of the 1986 Commonwealth Games, the 2005 World Rowing Masters Regatta and the 2006 Commonwealth Rowing Championships. It is also home to more than 150 species of wild animals and birds, as well as theme park M&D’s and the remains of a Roman fort and bath house, and was the setting for the first T in the Park in 1994, at which Blur, Pulp and Oasis performed.
Constructed in 1903 and rebuilt in the 1990s, the National Stadium, situated in Mount Florida on Glasgow’s south side and home to Scotland’s national football team, the SFA and the famous Hampden Roar, will undergo another transformation in order to host the athletics events at Glasgow 2014. The playing surface will be raised 1.9 metres to become an international-standard track and field competition and facility, while a warm-up track and jump areas will be created next door at Lesser Hampden. Improvements to the North and West stands have already been made, ahead of this year’s Scottish Cup Final in May. Hampden will also be the stage for Glasgow 2014’s hot-ticket closing ceremony.
Royal Commonwealth Pool
Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool was built in 1986 for the Edinburgh 1970 Commonwealth Games and was used again for Edinburgh’s 1986 Games. The A-listed building, overlooked by Arthur’s Seat, contains 1 billion gallons of water within its three pools. Reopened in 2012 after a £37m refit, which saw the 25m diving pool widened to six lanes and deepened to 6m and the addition of four new diving columns housing five international-standard diving boards, it will host Glasgow 2014’s diving events, having already staged the Diving World Series this year.
Built in 1892 and home to Celtic Football Club since then, Celtic Park – more commonly referred to by Celtic fans as Paradise – is located in Parkhead in the East End of Glasgow. Sitting beside the Athletes’ Village, it will set the scene for Glasgow 2014 when it hosts the Games’ Opening Ceremony on 23 July 2014. The 60,000-capacity stadium was upgraded in 1999 and in its 121-year history has staged Scotland internationals, Cup Finals, track and field events, shinty-hurling matches, open air masses, a coronation parade for King George V, speedway races, the 1897 Track Cycling World Championships, concerts by artists including Prince and The Who, and First World War recruitment drives which included a demonstration of trench warfare.
Ibrox, home of Rangers Football Club and located south of the River Clyde in the west of the city, will host the Games’ rugby sevens competition. Built in 1899 and with seating for 50,000 spectators, the stadium was rebuilt after the Ibrox disaster of 1971 (which led to the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975), with further renovations taking place in 1997 and the Main Stand is a listed building. Ibrox has staged Scottish international games and Cup Finals, plus a visit from King George V in 1917 to award war medals and a speech by King George VI to open the 1938 Empire Exhibition, and performers who have appeared in concert there include Elton John and Frank Sinatra.
The Athletes’ Village
The 6,500 athletes and officials descending upon Glasgow for the Games will be housed in the purpose-built Athletes’ Village, currently under construction on a 35-hectare site in Dalmarnock in the city’s East End beside Celtic Park and the Emirates Arena. Designed in consultation with athletes, the Village will include a retail area, recreation facilities, dining hall and medical centre and 260,000 items of furniture and equipment have been obtained for it from the London 2012 Olympic Athletes’ Village. After the Games the site will become homes of varying size and value, including social housing, and a 120-bed care home, and a new school will be built in the area.