Games of Small States kicks off in Iceland

The Laugardal Sports Hall in Reykjavik was the venue for the opening of the 2015 Games of Small States of Europe.

The centre was a surprise setting for the ceremony after organisers opted to stage the variety show and athletes’ parade indoors instead of at the originally scheduled venue of the Laugdalsvollur Stadium because of the poor weather forecast.

The event started with the traditional march that included more than 700 athletes from the nine participating nations.

Hosts Iceland, with more than 240 athletes across the 11 sports scheduled, had the largest contingent, who walked behind their flag-bearer, basketball player Hlynur Baeringsson.

Luxembourg had the second biggest group with 135 athletes, while the Games’ most successful country, Cyprus, brought just 55 athletes after opting out of all the team events.

Malta, represented by 58 athletes in 10 sports, followed flag-bearer target shooter Eleonor Bezzina, while President Julian Pace Bonello was also part of their contingent.

The variety show focused of characteristics of the host nation such as ice, water, fire and gas, while a number of local artists delivered some fine performances.

Meanwhile, Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson declared the games open by lighting the Olympic torch.