Hundreds of children from Hutchings High School in Pune are backing the Scottish team this week.
Pune has developed a school programme, Bond Forever, where local schools are linked to competing nation. The programme has been designed so each school in Pune learns about, and bonds with, another Commonwealth nation.
Monday morning was an opportunity for five Scottish athletes to learn more about the culture of India at Hutchings High School.
Track and field athletes, Calum Innes (Bearsden) and Callum Sharp (Bishopbriggs), boxers Jonathan Slowey (Glasgow) and Sean (Finney Kirkcaldy), and shooter Catriona McGregor (Aberdeen) accompanied Sports Minister, Stewart Maxwell and CGS Chairman, Michael Cavanagh to the school for a cultural extravaganza.
They were treated to traditional dancing, singing (including a fine rendition of Scotland the Brave) before meeting the children who will come to the stadium this week to cheer on the Scots. In a further gesture of friendship the athletes presented official Scottish team kit to the school.
“I jumped at the chance to come here today and it was amazing to experience some Indian culture – the welcome we had was fantastic,” said javelin thrower, Callum Sharp, after emerging from a sea of autograph hunters.
“I’ve never been surrounded by so many kids before. The eagerness the Indians have in these Games is amazing. It was an awesome experience and it’s an amazing country.”
Said Michael Cavanagh: “The athletes are obviously here to compete but it’s important that they experience the culture of India.
“Staff and pupils put in an enormous effort to give us all a memorable experience. I’m certain our athletes will share the enjoyment they had this morning with the rest of the athletes and I’d like to thank everyone at the school for making us feel so welcome.”