The waiting is over after the XXI Commonwealth Games kicked off in spectacular fashion with the opening ceremony on Wednesday night, writes MARK ETHERIDGE in Gold Coast.
Lead by double Olympic 800-metre track champion Caster Semenya, Team South Africa looked all class as they entered the Carrara Stadium, not far from the Athletes Village.
Nations were divided into regions around the world with European countries marching first. Scotland, hosts of the last Games in Glasgow, four years ago, had the honour of being the first group into the stadium.
They’re also South Africa’s neighbours in the Sunset residence section of the visit.
South Africa with a squad of just over 190 athletes (not all of them marched on Wednesday as competition kicked off on Thursday), slotted in between Sierra Leone and Swaziland.
Another proud South African moment saw multiple Commonwealth Games swimming medallist Natalie du Toit in the spotlight.
She formed part of the six-strong group of CGF Athlete Advisory Commission and they paraded the flag of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Final team into the stadium were host nation, Australia and the opening ceremony showcased the best of Aussie tradition with a big focus on surf, sun and sand, key elements of Australian culture.
The sporting action kicks off in Southport, not far from the Athletes Village on Thursday morning when five South Africa athletes are in triathlon action.
They are Simone Ackermann and Gillian Sanders in the women’s race and Richard Murray, Henri Schoeman and Wian Sullwald in the men’s race.
They’ll swim 750m, bike 20km and run 5km.
Photo of flag-bearer Semenya at the opening ceremony: Wessel Oosthuizen