Jersey arrive at the Opening Ceremony.
Among the 71 nations and territories in last night’s Opening Ceremony were twelve small but proud teams, each with fewer than ten competitors at the Games.
At times swamped by the larger teams, such as England’s squad of 528 (competitors and officials), Canada’s 365, and New Zealand’s total parade team of 254, were the small but gallant squads from Montserrat (6), St Kitts and Nevis (4) and St Helena (7) greeted by an enthusiastic audience of around 80,000 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
Proud flag-bearers of the smallest nations included:
Neil Thomas, the first cyclist to represent the Caribbean island group of the British Virgin Islands at a Commonwealth Games. Other members of the BVI team will compete in Athletics sprint events and men’s Squash;
Asian champion lawn bowler Haji Naim Brahim from Brunei, located on the island of Borneo in south-east Asia, leads a team of six competitors in the Men’s Lawn Bowls Singles, Pairs and Triples;
Mervyn (‘Tang’) Lantan, the first ever boxer to compete internationally for Dominica. Tang won Gold at the Caribbean Games and competed in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Tang bore the flag for a team of five Dominican athletes competing in Athletics (Men’s 100, 200m and 400m) and Men’s Squash;
Falkland Islands’ Gary Clement, a Clay Target shooter. Gary first arrived in the Falklands in 1977 as a British soldier, and married a local girl. After leaving the services he returned to settle in the Islands in 1991. He led a team of six athletes with officials into the MCG under the Falkland Islands banner;
Talented sixteen-year-old shooter Mario Yon - the youngest member of the St Helena team of four athletes, and travelling outside St Helena for the first time. Walking with Mario in the Nations Parade was St Helena Marathon runner Errol Duncan;
Experienced field athlete Lavern Spencer for St Lucia. She competed in Manchester and is the current Caribbean and central American high jump record holder. She is part of a team of seven athletes from this Caribbean Windward Island competing in Men’s and Women’s Swimming (Breaststroke, Backstroke and Freestyle) and Athletics (Long Jump, High Jump, Pole Vault and 100m and 200m Track events);
A respected member of the Commonwealth Games organisation, St Kitts and Nevis’ Chef de Mission, Keith Heyliger. Keith was a founding member of the Commonwealth Games Association in 1978, and became first Secretary General of the National Olympic Committee in 1986. The two mountainous islands of St Kitts and Nevis are part of the Caribbean Leeward Islands group. Their four athletes include competitors in Women’s Long Jump and Women’s 400 metre Track event;
Sprinter Darian Forbes for the Turks and Caicos Islands in his first appearance at a Commonwealth Games. He is a physical education student in the USA and is a member of the USA national team. Look for athletes from this chain of low-lying islands at the southern tip of the Bahamas in the Men’s 100m, 400m, Long Jump and Relay events;
Tuvalu flag bearer for the second time in a Commonwealth Games, 31-year-old Table Tennis player, Alan Resture. Now living in Fiji, Alan has represented Tuvalu in Singapore and at the Manchester Commonwealth Games. Tuvalu comprises nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean and has the smallest number of inhabitants of the independent nations. The team from Tuvalu, containing five athletes, will also compete in weightlifting events.
To find out more about the teams competing at the Commonwealth Games, visit the Competing Countries section of this Website.