SPORTING HEROES

THE curtain may have come down on Glasgow's Commonwealth Games.

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  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
    Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support
  • Team Scotland athletes thank the fans for their amazing support

But the celebrations are far from over as fans across the country came out to support Team Scotland during their victory parade through Glasgow.

A convoy of open top buses carrying the athletes made its way through the city's streets yesterday, starting at Kelvingrove Art Gallery.

Athletes carrying flags performed Mexican waves in front of cheering fans, who were carrying posters saying: "Thank You Scotland."

More than 180 Team Scotland athletes, coaches and officials stood proudly onboard the buses, which took them to George Square.

It was a fitting finale to the best ever Commonwealth Games, which saw Team Scotland deliver its greatest ever medal haul of 53 - 19 gold, 15 silver, and 19 bronze.

It also gave all of the athletes one final opportunity to thank the people of Scotland for their amazing support throughout the Games.

Swimmer Erraid Davies, 13, who won bronze at the Games, was passed flags and posters to sign.

Charlie Flynn, champion lightweight boxer, said he was "on top of the world". He said: "It's great to get out to the public and see everybody again, and give back to them what they've given to you.

"It's good to get out and sign T-shirts and talk to people because they want to see you and that's the least I can do."

The 20-year-old postie said the games had changed his life, and he was overwhelmed by the number of people who recognise him now.

He said: "Before I was just a wee guy running about in a tracksuit, nobody knew me.

"They thought I was a wee nutter who couldn't stop training; now everybody's loving it.

"Especially at work, they thought I had no sense going to the gym every morning but now they see it was worth it and I've done what I said I was going to do."

Charlie, from Newarthill, near Motherwell, said one of his best memories of the Games was being given the gold medal by his hero, and ex-Scots lightweight champion, Dick McTaggart.

He said: "He was the one who presented me with the medal, and that was touching because he's my hero. It was unbelievable.

"Once it all settled down, I realised that I would be in the history books.

"It is life changing, all the doors are open now.

"I said it would be life changing and that I'd get gold but I don't think many people listened."

He joined more than 180 other athletes and coaches as they paraded through the city, waving to thousands of onlookers.

Alex Marshall, who won two gold medals in lawn bowls, told of his emotion as he took part in the parade.

The 47-year-old, from Tranent. East Lothian, said: "It's been a roller-coaster ride. We've got a dinner tonight which we're all looking forward to."

The sporting veteran now has four gold medals, after securing awards at both the 2010 and 2006 Commonwealth Games.

He added: "The crowd made it for me. This is a great opportunity for us tonight, parading on the bus to say thanks to Glasgow and the crowd, who have been fantastic.

"Kelvingrove for the bowls was sensational, and I'd like to thank the crowd so much.

"They've been part of our success, they've been massive for Team Scotland and the Commonwealth Games."

It was a bittersweet moment for judo champion Chris Sherrington, 30, who retired from the sport this week.

The gold medallist, who is a Royal Marine, said: "I went down to British Judo on Monday and did the final signing off.

"It was a big decision to make but I think it had to be made. I'm not a 21-year-old anymore, my wife's relying on me to get on with my career.

"I joked about making the British team and the Olympics, people laughed about it but I went and did it. Who's laughing now?

"My Royal Marines career has been suffering for the last nine years."

He said the parade was for the supporters and Clydesiders. He said: "Doing all this here so close to home was a monumental achievement.

"This is us going to thank the volunteers and supporters for what they've done so we could do what we've done."

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