THE John Wright Sports Centre was awash with different cultures last Thursday morning as athletes from across the world limbered up for their track and field events.
Squads from as far afield as China, South Korea, Pakistan, Kenya and Canada flocked to the East Kilbride venue for the International Children’s Games.
But some teams had a more traumatic journey than others – as the American team from Marion, Indiana can testify.
Not only did they miss their flight from Newark Airport, they had to wait out a storm before their new flight took off and endured a hellish eight hour bus trip from London to East Kilbride.
Team coach, Terry Lakes, was at the track with his team on Thursday for the practice day and recalled his team’s ‘adventure’ after a 4,200 mile journey.
Terry said: “There was a huge storm on the East Coast (of America) and that held us up a bit.
“We were five minutes late for the flight, but if we'd got in the air then we would have been okay. It would have been a bit of a bumpy flight, but we would have got away at least.
“Instead me managed to get something booked to take us to London. But when we did get on a plane the weather got worse and we ended up waiting on the tarmac for two-and-a-half hours before we took off, so it wasn't the best preparation.
“It's a funny story because even after all that we had booked a bus to bring us here from London – and I didn't realise it would be a seven hours plus coach journey – so travelling here was an experience, that's for sure.”
After all that upheaval the group, who were based at St Andrew’s and St Bride’s High School during their stay, didn’t have much chance to see much of Lanarkshire but they did get a taste of some Scottish culture.
Terry added: “It was pretty crazy getting here and we had to cancel a couple of things we had planned for the Tuesday.
“But we visited Stirling Castle on Wednesday and spent the day having a look around the area before coming back and getting our credentials before moving into our accomodation at the school.
“It was raining heavily on our practice day and we kind of expected that to be the case.
“But it was great weather for us because in Indiana we've just gone through 14 days of over 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32C) heat, so that was pretty tough.
“This weather you guys get here is the kind we get in May or late September so for our squad, particularly our cross-country runners, they loved the conditions.
“It's a very nice facility at the John Wright Sports Centre and where we live in Marion, Indiana we have a university that has a high quality 400m Mondo track – it's one of the best in the nation – so we are really luck to have that.
“But John Wright is a great track for us as well and the athletes really liked it.”