Belfast Telegraph

First Minister's tribute to team

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has paid tribute to the grit and determination of Northern Ireland's Commonwealth Games team.

A total of 116 athletes are competing, the lar gest group the country has ever taken to the high-profile event.

The DUP leader joined Stormont Sports Minister Caral Ni Chuilin in attending the Glasgow opening ceremony.

Mr Robinson said: "This is a real credit to the sheer grit and determination of the athletes who dedicate their lives to their sport."

He added: "Sport has the power to inspire and energise and I am confident that many young people watching these Games will go on to be future competitors.

"I have no doubt that Team NI will demonstrate its determination to win and I look forward to great medal success at the Games."

Northern Ireland's Wendy Houvenaghel has announced her retirement from competitive cycling after injury ruled her out of a Commonwealth Games swansong at the last minute.

Cycling world champion Martyn Irvine, 29, has been selected as Northern Ireland's flag bearer for the opening ceremony of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Ms Ni Chuilin said there was a growing sense of excitement.

She added: "I am pleased to be cheering on the biggest team we have ever sent to the Games. In its ranks are new faces, including the first female boxers to compete, alongside seasoned veterans."

She said it was a team of depth, variety and talent.

"They have dedicated years of their lives to their chosen sport, trained hard and made many sacrifices to get here.

"Every athlete here is an ambassador for their sport, for their community and for themselves. They are an inspiration to us all."

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