Weather can't dampen spectacular Opening Ceremony

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Celebrating its 21st birthday, the Commonwealth Games began in spectacular fashion on Australia's Gold Coast on Wednesday night, featuring the Opening Ceremony at Carrara Stadium.

While the weather belied the famous Queensland tagline 'Beautiful one day, perfect the next,' as heavy showers swept across the venue before the start of the official proceedings, there was no dampening what was a unique blend of Indigenous culture and local beach life.

Complete with a smoking ceremony that filled the stadium with rich aromas of gum and eucalyptus, Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were represented in a wonderful mixture of song, dance, colour, and overall energy.

Prince Charles, who opened the Games on behalf of her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, lauded the Indigenous contribution to the Ceremony.

"The Ancient stories told by the Indigenous people of Australia remind us that even though we may be half a world away, we are all connected," the Prince said. "Over the years these Friendly Games have shown the potential of the Commonwealth to connect people of different backgrounds and nationalities.

"In this spirit of cooperation and togetherness, a common ground has been established and enduring friendships forged. As you come together at the start of these Games, I continue to be inspired by the courage, dedication and enthusiasm of all those taking part.

"I send my warm wishes to every competing individual, team and to all those who helped bring about the first Commonwealth Games in this very special part of Australia: the Gold Coast."

The day was not without its controversy, however, with the Queen's Baton Relay the subject of an earlier protest. While the Baton Relay made its way to the Stadium on Wednesday night, where Australian Olympic and World Champion Sally Pearson completed the final handover, Indigenous protesters had taken to the route at lunchtime on Wednesday under the banner of 'Stolenwealth'.

Meanwhile, the other notable feature of Wednesday night's Ceremony was an ode to the local beach culture and the iconic surf lifesaver. Complete with a shoreline watch tower, the beach performance paid tribute to the iconic strip of Gold Coast sand which for so long has been Australia's great playground.

With all the performances done, the athletes then made their way into the Stadium team by team, with the biggest roar, of course, reserved for the huge Australian contingent who were last out onto the surface. From there, the Athletes' Ode was taken before Prince Charles declared the Games open.

The entire showpiece was a welcome break from the ball-tampering scandal which has rocked Australian sport over the past fortnight. The incident during the third cricket Test in South Africa has already claimed the immediate futures of captain Steve Smith, vice-captain Dave Warner, coach Darren Lehmann, and opening batsman Cameron Bancroft.

Former captain Smith had only hours before the Opening Ceremony confirmed he wouldn't challenge a one-year ban from Cricket Australia, instead preferring to cop his suspension on the chin.

Whether the 11 days of Commonwealth Games competition in and around Australia's most famous stretch of sand helps to sooth those raw cricket wounds, or even captures the imagination of the general public, remains to be seen.

But there certainly was no shortage of fanfare on Wednesday night as the Opening Ceremony blended a strong Indigenous representation with much of what makes Queensland 'The Sunshine State'.

Organisers will be hoping the weather actually lives up to that reputation when the competition begins on Thursday.