Glasgow has celebrated the end of the Commonwealth Games in a glittering closing ceremony, paying tribute to the competitors of the "Friendly Games." Athletes from 71 nations now head home after 11 days of competition.
Glasgow farewelled more than 4,700 athletes on Sunday night in a ceremony that transformed the city's Hampden Park sports arena into a music festival, with competitors emerging from tents on the track to create a party vibe.
Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) president Prince Tunku Imran of Malaysia described the Glasgow Games as the "best ever."
"The Commonwealth Games are known as the Friendly Games," Prince Imran said.
"Glasgow has succeeded in making them even more than that. These truly have been the people's Games. Scotland, you have welcomed the athletes of the Commonwealth and have contributed to them realizing their dreams on one of the world's great sportings stages."
"Scotland, and Glasgow, you really have delivered in every aspect the best Games ever," said Prince Imran.
The closing ceremony fused the pop of legendary Glaswegian-born singer Lulu and Australian entertainer Kylie Minogue with the work of 18th-century poet Robert Burns.
The CGF flag was handed from Glasgow dignitaries and entrusted to Australian officials of the 2018 Commonwealth Games, to be held on the Gold Coast in the north-eastern state of Queensland.
While gaining a flag, Australia was dethroned from the Commonwealth Games top spot for the first time since 1986. England ranked first on the medals table with 58 gold, followed by Australia on 49, Canada on 32 and Scotland on 19.
In total, there were 261 medal events in 17 sports.
The athletes, which hail from 71 mostly former British colonies, will now head home. The Games opened on July 23 with a minute of silence to the victims of the Malaysia Airlines disaster over Ukraine.
Organizers of the opening ceremony also made light of Scotland's referendum, on September 18, on whether to seek independence from London-based rule within the current United Kingdom.
jr/av (Reuters, AFP)