- POSTED: 24 Jul 2014 00:19
The 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow on Wednesday will include a tribute to victims of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight disaster, organisers said.
GLASGOW: The 2014 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow on Wednesday will include a tribute to victims of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight disaster, organisers said. Prince Imran from Malaysia, president of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said all the victims, many of whom were from Malaysia and other Commonwealth countries, would be recognised.
The flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, with 298 people on board -- mostly Dutch nationals -- came down in rebel-held eastern Ukraine on Thursday. Western governments say the evidence points to it having been shot down with a missile by pro-Russian separatists. It comes after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared in March, with 239 people on board.
"I am from Malaysia and it's another sad occasion for our country, and for the airline," Imran told a news briefing in Glasgow. "It's a terrible thing to have two tragedies within months of each other. As I understand it, there will be some recognition."
David Grevemberg, chief executive of Glasgow 2014, added: "We will be paying tribute." Most of the non-Dutch victims on board MH17 were from Commonwealth countries. Of the 298 people killed, 43 were travelling on Malaysian passports, 27 on Australian, 10 British and one each from Canada and New Zealand. There was also a South African dual national on board.
Details of the tribute, in keeping with the rest of the ceremony, are being kept under wraps. The Games will officially be opened by Queen Elizabeth II during the ceremony at the Celtic Park stadium, which will be watched by 40,000 spectators and an estimated television audience of one billion viewers.
Organisers say the event will show people around the world "what we're made of" in Scotland, whilst celebrating values of unity and diversity. The ceremony will feature a giant video screen plus singers Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle.
Some 4,929 athletes are taking part in Glasgow, making it the biggest Commonwealth Games ever. More than 1.1 million tickets have been sold, with just five per cent of tickets still available.