Commonwealth Games 2002
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Features Sunday, 4 August, 2002, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK
Manchester delivers great show
Oliver Ighani and Cecilia Ghassens live in Manchester
Oliver Ighani and Cecilia Ghassens enjoyed the Games

The Sunday afternoon rain didn't drown the enthusiasm of the punters on the streets of Manchester as they reflected on 11 days of memorable sporting action.

As the Commonwealth Games drew to a close, Nigerian judo competitor Enobakharoe Iyagbaye said he intended to be back in the city soon as a visitor.

"The environment for the Games has been wonderful," he said.

"I've loved the very, very friendly people".

Enobakharoe won't be going back to Nigeria with any medals but he will still have many fond memories of the Games.

open quote
God has really concentrated on making beautiful ladies in Manchester
end quote
Nigeria's Enobakharoe Iyagbaye

He was particularly impressed with the female population of the city.

"The fact that I didn't get far in my event, I give God the glory.

"This is a God-made town.

"God has really concentrated on making beautiful ladies in Manchester," he laughed.

Adella Ball, of Sheffield, agreed that Manchester had put on a tremendous show.

"The old folk working as volunteers have been walking around with pride," added Adella.

Nigerian judo player Enobakharoe Iyagbaye hopes to visit Manchester again
Enobakharoe Iyagbaye loved Manchester

"Everybody seems to have had a part in it and played a role".

Her boyfriend Nick Dando, from nearby Warrington, agreed that he felt proud at the city's efforts during the Games.

"It's great that a city like Manchester can show the world that we can do something like this and do it well," said Nick.

"A lot of people probably thought we wouldn't have been able to.

"Even a couple of days of bad weather hasn't made all that much difference".

Nick's day job is as a duty manager at the GMEX centre so he had the opportunity to watch events like the weightlifting and judo.

"We also went to the mountain biking in Bolton last week and there was even a great Commonwealth buzz there," added Adella.

Three generations of the Pritchard family from Manchester were looking forward to their day out at the weightlifting.
The Australian boys cheered on their compatriots in Sunday's triathlon
Dylan Kunst and Adam James

"I used to do weightlifting and I hope my own son Dylan who is here today might maybe take it up in the future," said Gareth.

Gareth's father Bob was also there along with Dylan's cousin Ellis.

"The Games have given Manchester a lot of hope for the future," added Gareth.

Oliver Ighani wasn't surprised that Manchester folk had excelled themselves during the 11 days.

The Londoner and partner Cecilia Ghassens moved to the city eight months ago and quickly noticed a big difference from the capital.

"It's very noticeable how much friendlier people are the further north you go so I'm not surprised they've put on such a good show," said Oliver.

"Overall, the Games have been a great advert for the city with so many people coming here."

Swedish-born Cecilia enjoyed one night out at the athletics and praised the marvellous organisation during the Games.

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The experience has been awesome
end quote
Australian Adam James

"Everything was perfectly organised," she said.

"We took one of the seemingly hundreds of shuttle buses that were laid on and when we arrived, there was a fantastic atmosphere in the stadium".

Queensland lads Adam James and Dylan Kunst appeared to have quickly got over the disappointment of seeing Australia losing to Samoa in the rugby sevens on Saturday evening.

"The experience has been awesome," beamed Adam.

"We've been working in Warrington for a couple of weeks but we came up here for the last couple of days of the Games.

Gareth Pritchard pictured with his father Bob plus son Dylan and nephew Ellis
The Pritchard family were at the weightlifting

"I was running up and down urging all the Aussies on in the triathlon today and I hope my mum saw me on TV".

Adam remarked on the cleanliness of the city despite the huge influx of people over the past fortnight.

"They've done a great job to make it ready for the occasion".

Like so many, Dylan picked out the volunteers as the real stars of these Games.

"This is our first time in Manchester but when you are asking for directions or any information, the people are so helpful," added Dylan.

The message on the streets was clear: Manchester had delivered big-time.

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