Children's Games ceremony to take place in Lanarkshire

Young athletes practise ahead of the opening ceremony

The opening ceremony of the 45th International Children's Games is to get under way in Lanarkshire later.

The International Olympic Committee-recognised event is for 12 to 15 year old competitors from around the world.

About 1,500 representatives of 77 cities from 33 countries practised ahead of the ceremony at Fir Park, Motherwell.

The competition is the world's biggest youth sporting event and this is the first time it has come to Scotland.

The games are hosted by North and South Lanarkshire Councils and the opening ceremony will see performances from Scottish bag-rock group Skerryvore, a display by 400 local dancers and singers, and the raising of the ICG flag before a firework display brings the event to a close.

The first International Children's Games took place in Celje, Slovenia in 1968.

The Games were the brainchild of physical education teacher Professor Metod Klemenc, a Yugoslavian who had suffered enormously as a youngster during World War II and it was something he did not want future generations to have to endure.

It was his vision to create an event fostering a better understanding among children of different cultural backgrounds, as well as promoting peace and harmony worldwide which led to the inaugural Games being held in Slovenia, then part of Yugoslavia.

Events at this year's games will include golf, judo, swimming and football and competitors have come from cities as far afield as Singapore, Reykjavik and Nairobi.

The closing ceremony will take place at Strathclyde Park on Sunday.

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