By Nick Butler, Paul Osborne and Gary Anderson in Glasgow
Click refresh for latest updates. All times stated are British

Follow all the action from the Opening Ceremony in our live blog from inside Celtic Park.

17:56 Right, we are going to close up shop here in a moment and open our special Opening Ceremony live blog, which will be in operation throughout the evening. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, you can get up to date with our picture gallery of Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremonies of the past.

Netball fighting talk

17:48 Wales' netball preparation has hardly been perfect either, after coach Melissa Hyndman was sacked in June and replaced by Laura Williams. Their first match is against England on Friday (July 25).

Quote marks"It's really important. I think the Welsh have a point to prove so they are out for scalps. We just need to set the tone of the game and make sure we do all the things we've been working on. We want to build as the games go on so it's about making sure we do the small things right and hopefully that will lead us forward to the remaining games."
England star Ama Agbeze is not underestimating the importance of the opening match.

Something to brighten up Welsh misery?

17:39 It has not been a good few weeks for Wales, following the withdrawal of two reigning and one former world champion - cyclist Becky James and triathletes Non Stanford and Helen Jenkins - through injury, before Olympic silver medal winning boxer Fred Evans was controversially denied accreditation to compete, (see 10:57 for more).

Even more worryingly, 800 metres runner Gareth Warburton was removed from the team last week after failing a doping test.

But the Wales rugby team have offered their support to cheer them up. "Win medals," they are told by a trio including Lions winning prop Adam Jones. And you wouldn't argue with him.

Never too late - Fiji embrace the Queen's Baton Relay

17:33 We will return to some of the other Flagbearers in a little while, but just to bring you some Queen's Baton Relay news first. For Fiji, who were not included in the Relay because the Pacific nation did not return to the Commonwealth until it was well past the Pacific, have had a chance to embrace the Relay.

Members of the delegation did so at the Athletes' Village a little earlier on today. 

Fijian athletes with the Queen's Baton Relay ©Getty ImagesMembers of the Fijian team enjoy carrying the Baton ©Getty Images
Other Flagbearers

Since being told we would not be told the full list of Flagbearers until after the Ceremony, we made it our mission to find out as many as possible. Here are a few of them to keep you satisfied for the time being...

17:29 The last Flagbearer we are giving away for the time being, and it is a revision to the news we brought you earlier that Nicol David is carrying the Malaysian flag. She is not now performing the honour, with the flag to be lifted instead by track cyclist Fatehah Mustapa. The 25-year-old finished 15th in the keirin at London 2012.

17:24 South Africa have opted for a rugby sevens player as their Flagbearer in Cecil Afrika. He was unveiled a few days ago at a Ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, so before their departure for Glasgow, where they were also addressed by deputy-president, Cyril Ramaphosa.

Afrika made his debut for the South African sevens team during the Dubai leg of the 2009-10 World Series. He was also part of the South African team that took bronze in Delhi four years ago.

17:17 Sprinter Kevin Arthur Moore will carry the Maltese flag tonight, with Malta one of very few European countries outside the United Kingdom to be a member of the Commonwealth. 

17:14 Martyn Irvine will perform the Flagbearing honour for Northern Ireland. The cyclist, who usually rides for the Republic of Ireland rather than Great Britain, became the first Irishman to win a World Track Championship gold in 117 years in 2013. The 27-year-old sensationally won the scratch race in Minsk less than an hour after taking a silver medal in the individual pursuit.

He also claimed a team pursuit bronze medal for Northern Ireland at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

Martyn Irvine will carry the Northern Ireland flag ©AFP/Getty Images

17:07 Micah Franklin, the island's number one squash player, will carry the flag for Bermuda. 

17:03 Litia Tikoisuva will carry the Fijian flag, after the Pacific island nation was returned to the Commonwealth fold earlier this year. Team Fiji's Chef de Mission Lyndall Fisher said the lawn bowler will perform the honour in a traditional Fijian dress.

Glasgow 2014 will be Tikoisuva's fourth Commonwealth Games, although she missed Delhi 2010 because Fiji were barred from participating. The bowler won gold medals at the 2005 Asia Pacific Championship in Australia and the 2003 South Pacific Games in Fiji and she won silver medals at the 2005 World Indoor Championships, the 2004 Australia Open and the 2003 Asia Pacific Championships.

Adams to carry New Zealand flag

16:50 No surprises as shot put legend Valerie Adams is chosen as the New Zealand Flagbearer for Glasgow 2014. 

At a ceremony in the stunning Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in central Glasgow, attended by more than 300 members of the New Zealand team, Chef de Mission Rob Waddell apparently draped the New Zealand flag around a beaming Adams' shoulders to the applause of her team mates.

Valerie Adams will carry the New Zealand flag ©Getty Images

The shot putter is a seven time world and two time Olympic champion who has also won the last two Commonwealth Games titles. It would take a brave, or foolish, person to bet against her this time as well.

Adams' best mark in 2014 is a relatively modest, for her, 20.46 metres. But she holds seven of the best nine marks in the world. Her nearest challenge in Glasgow should come from Cleopatra Borel of Trinidad and Tobago, who lies seventh in the rankings with a best of 19.10.

First Commonwealth Games swimming competition for the intellectually impaired

16:35 Following on from the news we brought you at 14:20 today, that Glasgow 2014 will include the largest number of Paralympic events in any edition of the Commonwealth Games, the UK Sports Association for People with Learning Disability are highlighting the fact that swimmers in the S14 category for the intellectually impaired will compete for the very first time.

This will occur on Saturday (July 26) when the men's 200m freestyle competition takes place.

Among those participating will by 24-year-old Craig Rodgie of Scotland, 19-year-old Jack Thomas of Wales and 15-year-old Tom Hammer of England. 

Twitter logo
Good luck to former IPC colleague David Grevemberg and the rest of the @Glasgow2014 team for what will be great Commonwealth Games.
- IPC chief executive Xavier Gonzalez gives a good luck message ahead of the opening of the Games.

Opening Ceremony Information

The fabled Opening Ceremony media packs have arrived in the Press Centre in the last few minutes. We will be keeping our lips tightly sealed about any of the information inside it though, I'm afraid.

There is some slight frustration that neither the full list of Flagbearers nor the dignitaries attending tonight's shindig have been revealed, and they will not be until after the event finishes. Not exactly ideal for a live blog...

Sri Lankan cycling team take to the open road...

Cyclists taking to roads they shouldn't really be on seems to be a pre-requisite of a Commonwealth Games on British tarmac. At Manchester 2002, two members of the Kenyan team were spotted on a training ride travelling at around 40mph, on the M61.

Alistair Brownlee photographed members of the Sri Lankan cyclinng team peddling down the M74 ©Twitter

The Sri Lankan cycling team has been spotted cycling on the M74 near Glasgow by British Olympic triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee.

The four members of the team were seen on one of Scotland's busiest stretches of road at the exit for Motherwell and Hamilton before they were told they were breaking the law. 

"Police attended the scene. Advice and assistance was given and the cyclists were advised to get off the road," a spokeswoman for Police Scotland said.

Lord Smith of Kelvin in reflective mood

Glasgow 2014 chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin says the business of hosting a Games is unusual

Quote marks
"As a business, the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games is an unusual one. The Organising Committee began with a handful of people and has grown to encompass more than 1500 employees. It will then go back to nothing because there is an end product. That has made it very different from my past experience of sustaining businesses and helping them grow, but it has been a fascinating journey, and I'm honoured to be part of something that means so much to the people of Glasgow and Scotland." - Lord Smith of Kelvin reflects on his journey as chairman of Glasgow 2014 in an interview with Marketing Magazine

Barker on the box

Our esteemed colleague and all round fountain of knowledge Philip Barker is currently in the make-up artists's chair as he gets ready to appear on the BBC's One Show later this evening.

Fresh from delighting listeners with his unique take on the Commonwealth Games on talksport and BBC Radio Five Live this morning, Barker will be appearing on the famous One Show sofa for more Commonwealth Games chat at 7pm this evening.

The show will air just an hour before the host broadcaster begins live coverage of the Glasgow 2014 Opening Ceremony.

These athletes have been to St Helena and back to get to Glasgow

When you consider that the duration of the Games here in Glasgow is 11 days then spare a thought for the six athletes and two team officials of the tiny South Atlantic island of St Helena.

They arrived in Glasgow today after 10 days of travelling that included a journey on a Royal Mail ship, the RMS St Helena, two flights and 8,500 miles.

On the five-day crossing from St Helena to Cape Town in South Africa the team kept busy by getting in some extra training.

"The area to practice in was not even the size of a badminton court," said team manager Nick Stevens.

From Cape Town they sailed to Amsterdam in The Netherlands before taking to the skies to arrive in Glasgow.

The athletes and team officials from the St Helena team arriving in Glasgow

From one Royal to another

Prince Charles was out and about in Glasgow ahead of tonight's Opening Ceremony.

He and the Duchess of Cornwall visited the Emirates Arena and the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome where they looked on as members of the Jamaican and Indian boxing squads were put through their paces.

Dukes up!

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall getting some boxing tips   Prince Charles gets ready to throw a knockout punch

CGF President Prince Imran says there are no plans for a Commonwealth Paralympic Games

With 22 medal events set to take place over the next 11 days, Glasgow 2014 will see the largest Paralympic programme at any Commonwealth Games to date.

The likes of British Paralympic Games gold medallist David Weir and 13-time Paralympic swimming champion Matthew Cowdrey will be thrilling the crowds here in Glasgow.

However, as the numbers and profile of Paralympic athletes continues to grow, particularly post London 2012, Prince Imran reiterated his stance that there are no plans to introduce a Commonwealth Paralympic Games.

"We do not see a standalone Paralympic Games, and if there is going to be such a competition, it will not be under us, but under some other organisation, like the International Paralympic Committee," the Malaysian said, following the conclusion of the CGF General Assembly.

"From our point of view, the reason why Paralympic sports are part of the Games is because, we believe, we want our athletes to feel equal with the able-bodied athletes, and that's why we are having them as part of our Games."

To read full story click here.

Some interesting views from our friends across the water...

The New York Times has been having its say on the Commonwealth Games.

Quote marks
"For most of the sporting planet, the Commonwealth Games, 11 days of competition that open on Wednesday in Glasgow are a quadrennial irrelevance. They are a curious colonial vestige with some of the pomp and circumstance of the Olympics minus most of the heavy hitters."
- Christopher Clarey writing in the New York Times yesterday.

The race for Commonwealth Games 2022 


13:35 The weather so far here in Glasgow has been positively balmy for a Scottish summer.

In four year's time we can expect an even sunnier reception when the Games head to Gold Coast in Australia.

But where will we be in 2022?

Well, the bid cities of Durban, South Africa and Edmonton in Canada have released videos this week as the race for 2022 hots up.

Check them out above.

Commonwealth Games selfie

Team Australia posing for a selfie ©TwitterSingapore sprinter Calvin Kang gets up close and personal with a piper ©Twitter

Twitter has exploded over the past day with Commonwealth Games athletes posting their own Games version of the selfie - the wealfie.

The pictures have given fans a glimpse of the Games fever inside the Athletes' Village on the banks of the River Clyde.

We've picked a couple of our favourites to give you a little taste.

Prince Edward joins the NYT at the Athletes' Village 

HRH the Earl of Wessex joined the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain at the Athletes Village ©Getty ImagesNational Youth Theatre of GB performer Jay Jones in the Glasgow 2014 Village Ceremonies Getty ImagesNational Youth Theatre of GB performing in Glasgow 2014 Village Opening Ceremony ©Getty ImagesHRH the Earl of Wessex and the National Youth Theatre of GB at the Athletes Village in Glasgow ©Getty Images

Yesterday HRH the Earl of Wessex joined performers from the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain as they welcomed Team England, Team Australia and 23 other teams from around the Commonwealth to the Glasgow 2014 Athletes' Village.

Highlights of the Team Welcome Ceremonies include a rave to music by Scottish band Halycon, gymnastic back flips, a water fight and the inventive recreation of iconic Glaswegian landmarks including The Duke of Wellington and the Armadillo.

Opening Ceremonies through the years 

Want a look back through Opening Ceremonies of the past? Insidethegames is on board to help you re-live all the best bits from years gone by. 

Simply click here, sit back, and remember the good old days...

Houvenaghel retires from cycling 

Wendy Houvenaghel has retired from cycling ©Getty Images

Olympic silver medallist Wendy Houvenaghel has announced her retirement from cycling after pulling out of the Northern Ireland team for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow because of injury.

In a statement, the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games silver medallist said: "The past decade of my life has been dedicated to professional cycling and it has, for the most part, been extremely rewarding.

"I have always dedicated myself 100 per cent to my role as a natural professional sportsperson and I am immensely proud of my consistently high achievements from the beginning.

"It is disappointing to have to withdraw from competition at the Commonwealth Games. However, I would like to wish my Northern Irish team-mates every success with their performances in Glasgow.

"It is never easy to make the final decision to end one's sporting career."

The Beijing Olympic silver medallist will now retire to a life of full-time dentistry.

Words of wisdom from "Big Gav"

Scottish rugby union legend Gavin Hastings, who is also the Chieftain of the Athletes Village, has given his thoughts on the impending Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Blog Alert!

Philip Barker
11:29 Sticking to the Opening Ceremony and our very own Philip Barker has a history lesson for you all in his latest blog on the "History of the Opening Ceremonies".

To take a read of Philip's latest work, click here.  

Tribute to Malaysian Airline flight victims

A tribute will be paid to the 298 victims who died in the crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 at this evening's Opening Ceremony. 

As more and more details continue to flood through on the Opening Ceremony, it has been confirmed that "some recognition" will be paid to victims of the Malaysian Airlines flight after it was shot down over Eastern Ukraine last week.

Ticket sales

Over half of tickets sold for the Commonwealth Games have been bought by Scottish residents. That's the news coming from Glasgow 2014 organisers here in Scotland.

In fact 57 per cent of tickets have been snapped up by Scots with a further 40 per cent spread across the rest of the UK. That leaves the final three per cent of tickets sales travelling further afield, according to Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg.

More on Fred Evans

Mike Hooper has reiterated his statements on the controversial decision to refuse accreditation to Welsh boxer Fred Evans ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Speaking at the Press Briefing here this morning, Hooper explained that the "CGF does not get directly involved in background checks. But for all major events the exact same process applies,"

He added that the Commonwealth Games Revision Board investigates each case,a policy known by all Commonwealth Games Associations.

"That is the policy. Our board has taken a decision and we respect that decision as we did in Delhi in 2010 and Melbourne in 2006."

Read our full story on the decision here.

Opening Ceremony's musical feast

Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle will perform at tonight's Opening Ceremony ©Getty Images

10:55 Tonight's Opening Ceremony will have a pretty star-studded line-up. Grammy and Brit Award winner Rod Stewart will belt out a tune or two, as will 2009 Britain's Got Talent runner-up Susan Boyle, who has enjoyed international success.

Other  acts set to perform at Celtic Park 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.

Games' cash boost

10:34 British Prime Minister David Cameron will tell a business conference in Glasgow today that the UK economy has seen a cash injection of £14.2 billion ($24.3 billion/€18 billion) since London hosted the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2012.

There are hopes the Commonwealth Games will bring similar fortunes.

Twitter logoHaving breakfast with Kenyan runners to my left and Aussies to the right. Just a normal day in the games village #mad
- Scottish cyclist Alistair Rutherford is soaking up the international flavour of the Commonwealth Games.

Malaysian shooter ruled out due to lost jacket

Delhi 2010 10 metre air rifle pairs shooting champion Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul Halim will be unable to compete in Glasgow after her competition jacket went missing.

In fact, all of her luggage has reportedly failed to arrive.

Shooter Nur Ayuni Farhana Abdul Halim has been ruled out of the Games ©AFP/Getty Images

Ayuni was due to compete in the 10m air rifle and 50m rifle prone events in Glasgow

"It is really painful for her," said team manager Musa Omar. "The rules clearly state that a rifle shooter must wear a jacket. We tried to borrow one but it did not fit her. We tried to make a new one but she said that she would need two months to get used to it."

A tearful Ayuni wanted to return to Malaysia, but has been persuaded to stay and support her replacements in the two events.

Opening Ceremony preview

09:52 The Opening Ceremony will be a poignant time for David and her Malaysian team mates, with it being confirmed the delegation will wear black armbands in recognition of the Malaysian Airlines plane tragedy.

09:43 Squash is basking in the glory of having three of its elite athletes chosen to be Flagbearers at the Opening Ceremony.

They hope it will flag their campaign for Olympic inclusion.

Delhi 2010 squash champion Nicol David will carry the Malaysian flag ©AFP/Getty Images

After Malaysian superstar and women's world number one Nicol David was given the honour of leading the eight Asian countries into the arena, world ranked number 20 Chris Simpson was elected the Guernsey flag-bearer. Then this afternoon it was revealed that Team England's athletes had voted three-time world champion Nick Matthew to carry his country's flag

09:32 We have been promised a unique segment from UNICEF that will set a precedent for all future Opening Ceremonies tonight. Otherwise, it will demonstrate Scottish values but in the wider Commonwealth context. Read more here.

Athletes' Oath to include anti-doping pledge?

Philip BarkerOur very Olympic and Commonwealth Games historian, Philip Barker, has been doing some digging about the Athletes' Oath.

Every one of the competitors at Glasgow 2014 will be bound by an oath taken on their behalf by a member of the Scotland team during the Opening Ceremony at Celtic Park. All the Indications are that this part of the ceremony will be different to what has gone before.

"The oath has changed" said Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper "but I don't want to preempt it. It is a case of watch this space."

"The Olympic Oath, introduced at the 1920 Games in Antwerp, had been radically overhauled in 2000 when a commitment to anti-doping was added.

"I promise that we shall take part in these Olympic Games respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them, committing ourselves to a sport without doping and without drugs, in the true spirit of sportsmanship for the glory of sport and the honour of our teams " said hockey player Rechelle Hawkes.

Olympic protocol also calls upon a judge to give an undertaking  to officiate impartially. At the Youth Olympic Games in 2010, a coach also took the stand to represent the athlete's entourage and the idea was included at the London 2012 Olympics.

The Commonwealth Games now look set to follow suit. "They will include all three" said Hooper.

In the early years of the Empire Games, a pledge of loyalty to the British King was taken whilst grasping the Union flag. These opening words were dropped in the fifties but the rest of the oath has remained the same until now.

There will be a different Oath to the one seen at Delhi 2010 ©Getty Images

TwitterMy best wishes to our athletes participating in the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow. Am sure they will do our nation very proud. @Glasgow2014
- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets his encouragement to his athletes. They will be trying to match their second place on the medals table at Delhi 2010.

What happened in Glasgow yesterday?

09:19 More information on all of these stories can be found on our blog yesterday, or on the dedicated Commonwealth Games section of our website.

09:15 There was also all the reaction, and the fallout, from the General Assembly of the Commonwealth Games Federation which finished yesterday, with a row between CGF Officials and the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee having developed over the missing of deadlines for registering athletes.

It was also confirmed the CGF headquarters will remain in London.

09:10 Believe it or not, we received some bemused questions yesterday as to why we started our live updates on a "day where nothing was happening". Well, stuff certainly was happening.

We had Flagbearer announcements left, right and centre, more misery for Wales as Olympic silver medal winning boxer Fred Evans was controversially denied accreditation to compete in the Games, and an insistence from First Minister Alex Salmond that he would cease promoting Scottish Independence for the duration of the Games.

And it says something that Alex Salmond was not even the biggest press conference attraction of the day. A certain James Bond legend turned UNICEF Ambassador (the names Roger, Roger Moore) took that honour.

09:00 Hello and welcome back to the insidethegames exclusive live blog from the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, as we count down to this evening's Opening Ceremony in Celtic Park.