Indian cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar is set to play a “special” part in Wednesday’s opening ceremony of the 20th Commonwealth Games, which will herald the beginning of what promises to be a star-studded event.
Tendulkar, who retired from international cricket after a glorious career spanning 24 years, will make his presence felt during the ceremony in his capacity as the Global Goodwill Ambassador of the UNICEF, which has partnered with the Glasgow CWG organisers and Commonwealth Games Federation in a first-of-its-kind initiative to spread awareness about the childrens’ problems facing all over the world.
But how Tendulkar will be part of the ceremony, to be graced by Commonwealth Head Queen Elizabeth II, British Prime Minister David Cameron and his cabinet colleagues, Scotland’s First Minister Alex Salmond and his colleagues in the government and other dignitaries from Commonwealth nations, is not known as the organisers are tightlipped about the details.
“There will be something special from Tendulkar, wait and watch tomorrow (Wednesday),” Lord David Puttnam, UNICEF UK Ambassador, told PTI today after a programme on the partnership.
“Tendulkar is a Global Goodwill Ambassador for UNICEF and he is happily involved with the work of the organisation (UNICEF),” said Puttnam without answering whether Tendulkar will be present in person on Wednesday.
The media in the UK had earlier reported that a UNICEF campaign will be featured on the night showing special films recorded by the likes of Sir Chris Hoy, Sir Alex Ferguson and Tendulkar, aimed at raising funds for projects being run across Commonwealth countries.
The Opening Ceremony will also feature a near 100 metre wide and 11m high LED screen erected in front of the South Stand at Celtic Park to broadcast images of the night. In 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games the aerostat which cost crores of rupees was the showpiece during the opening and closing ceremonies.
The turf of the home of Scotland’s famous football club Celtic has been completely covered by wooden flooring while the scoreboard, set to make way for the giant LED screen, will reduce the capacity of the ground to 35,000.
The Opening Ceremony, to be produced by Global events specialists Jack Morton Worldwide involved in the Ceremonies for Manchester 2002, Melbourne 2006 as well as the Athens Olympics and the 2010 World Cup, is expected to attract a global audience of more than one billion and is set to feature more than 2,000 volunteers taking part in the event to be broadcast live by the BBC.
The Queen Elizabeth II will read out the message written on the Queens Baton which has travelled to 71 nations and territories of the Commonwealth in a relay for 248 days before declaring the Games open.
Scottish singing legend and Grammy Award winner Rod Stewart will perform on the night in over two hour show starting 8pm British Summer Time (00:30 IST).
Joining the rocker on July 23 will be Scottish singer Susan Boyle, who shot to fame in the ITV talent show Britain’s Got Talent in 2009 and has gone on to sell millions of albums worldwide. The opening ceremony will also be available live on Youtube, for the first time in any CWG.
Other Scottish acts confirmed to appear at the Opening Ceremony are Classical Brit Award winner and violin virtuoso Nicola Benedetti, Glasgow singer/songwriter Amy MacDonald and Julie Fowlis, who found global recognition through the songs she performed in the Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA-winning film ‘Brave’.
Meanwhile, Scotland is set to roll out “an innovative, individual but inclusive” ceremony that will both celebrate the diversity of Glasgow and showcase what the city and Scotland have in common with the 70 other competing nations.
“It’s got humour, warmth, celebrating what we have in common. Having said all that, it will always feel like it was created in Glasgow,” David Zolkwer, the Glasgow 2014 head of ceremonies, said.
“So although we are telling a universal story, we are telling it with a distinctly Glaswegian accent, which means we are going to be irreverent, funny, principled, sincere, inclusive, personal, direct. We are talking down the lens, we are not asking the world to watch a show.”