Glasgow’s European Championships open with music and rain

A young fan looks on during the European Championships Glasgow 2018 Opening Moment at George Square. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
A young fan looks on during the European Championships Glasgow 2018 Opening Moment at George Square. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images
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Glasgow’s biggest sporting event since the Commonwealth Games has kicked off with music, dancing – and rain – at the opening party for the 2018 European Championships.

Crowds gathered in George Square to watch performers including Nina Nesbitt begin the countdown to the competition, which opens tomorrow.

Team 2018 volunteers during the 2018 European Championships Great Big Opening Party at George Square. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Team 2018 volunteers during the 2018 European Championships Great Big Opening Party at George Square. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

The sunny weather that marked the 2014 Games was absent as drizzle fell on spectators at the event billed the Great Big Opening Party.

Compere Sanjeev Kohli joked he had arranged the wet weather to keep in line with the traditional west Scotland climate.

The actor, who was accompanied by sports broadcaster Alison Walker, paid tribute to the thousands of volunteers supporting the 11-day event, which is being co-hosted by Berlin.

It sees the existing European Championships of cycling, gymnastics, rowing, swimming, triathlon and athletics brought together for the first time.

Glasgow 2018 mascot Bonnie the seal with the crowd during the 2018 European Championships Great Big Opening Party at George Square. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Glasgow 2018 mascot Bonnie the seal with the crowd during the 2018 European Championships Great Big Opening Party at George Square. Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire

Kohli said: “10,000 people applied to volunteer, 4,000 of you got in and a lot of you are here today. Thank you so much for your efforts, we really appreciate it.”

The competition will span 12 venues including sites outside Glasgow, with open water swimming at Loch Lomond, triathlon at Strathclyde Country Park, golf at Gleneagles and diving in Edinburgh.

The championships begin tomorrow with track cycling, rowing and artistic gymnastics.

Those expected to compete include swimmer Adam Peaty, gymnast Max Whitlock and cyclist Laura Kenny.

Glasgow 2018 chiefs said tickets were selling out fast across the events and urged sports fans to book up in advance to avoid disappointment.

Lindsey Robertson, 34, from Govan, won tickets to the opening party through her work and said it was a great event for Glasgow.

She said: “Tonight would have been better if the weather was like it was two weeks ago, but never mind.

“I think it’s great for Glasgow that it’s hosting something like this.”

Her daughter Olivia, nine, said: “I’m looking forward to the gymnastics.”

Also on tonight’s bill were Scottish-Egyptian musicians The Ayoub Sisters, who impressed the crowd with a classical version of Ed Sheeran’s Shape Of You, and C Duncan, Sacred Paws and Elephant Sessions.