JUDO star Euan Burton has been named as the flag bearer who will lead Team Scotland into tomorrow’s opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games.
The 35-year-old, who lives in the Capital, was announced in the role at a team reception in host city Glasgow and presented with the all-important flag by Edinburgh-born Sir Chris Hoy, the greatest British Olympian of all time.
The multiple world and European medal-winning judoka, who was picked for the role by his fellow competitors, said he was “enormously proud” to be able to lead the Scottish team out at Celtic Park tomorrow night.
“It’s a huge honour and an absolute privilege to be able to lead your team out on to the field of play at any event, but for a home Commonwealth Games it’s even more so,” he said.
Burton, who also coaches at the national training centre at Ratho, said it was a “surreal” experience to learn that he had been selected for the flag-bearing role.
“My first thought was that it could be a nerve-racking experience, and obviously I was very excited,” he said.
“I was at home with my wife [English judo star Gemma Gibbons], who was jumping around the place when she found out I was going to be carrying the flag in for Scotland.”
Burton, who was born in Berkshire, confessed to having done some homework ahead of his starring role.
He said: “I probably shouldn’t say this, but I’ve been on YouTube a couple of times just to relive the moment Chris [Hoy] walked out in front of us in 2012 [at the London Olympics] to take a few tips.”
Burton already has two Olympics under his belt but he is set for his first Commonwealth Games with judo returning to the programme for the first time since 2002.
Around 6500 athletes and officials have now arrived at the athletes’ village in Glasgow’s east end ahead of the 11 days of sporting action.
The teams will join 2000 cast members in the opening ceremony in front of 40,000 spectators, with a potential television audience of more than 1.5 billion around the world.
Singing star Susan Boyle took a little bit of the Commonwealth Games to children in hospital when she visited them with the Queen’s baton.
Picking up the baton outside Yorkhill Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Glasgow, she said she was “very excited” about the opening ceremony where she will perform alongside the likes of Rod Stewart, Amy Macdonald and Nicola Benedetti.
Scotland football manager Gordon Strachan was today due to pick up the Queen’s baton outside Hampden Park, becoming one of the last people to carry the baton as it nears the end of its journey. It has travelled across 70 nations and territories.