GLASGOW, July 23: The opening ceremony for the 20th Commonwealth Games got underway in front of a 40,000 capacity crowd bathed in sunshine at Celtic Park, Glasgow on Wednesday. The Games will feature 17 sports across 11 days of competition with more than 4,500 athletes from 71 nations competing, making the event the biggest Scotland has ever hosted.

Queen Elizabeth II will officially open the Games during the ceremony and will also read out a message that has been secretly kept inside the Queen’s baton which has been paraded around 70 Commonwealth nations for the past nine months. There will also be a tribute to the 298 people who died in the Malaysia Airlines MH17 flight disaster, 82 of whom were from Commonwealth nations.

World-renowned Scottish singers Rod Stewart and Susan Boyle will perform live, whilst six-time Olympic champion Chris Hoy, former Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar will also make an appearance.

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.