WHEN Olympic swimmer Michael Jamieson dived into Glasgow's newly-refurbished Tollcross pool the idea was to create a splash about Commonwealth Games tickets going on sale.
No doubt the Scot - one of our best medal hopes - enjoyed his workout in the pool where he trained as a youngster. But judging by the tidal wave of inquiries which crashed over the Glasgow 2014 website the stunt was largely redundant. Tens of thousands of sports fans went online to apply for tickets from the word go, bringing the computerised system to a standstill. Some struggled for hours, others gave up. The frustration voiced by many on social media sites is understandable but, staring at their screens, they can at least console themselves with the thought that it will be worth the wait if they are lucky enough to land tickets for their favourite events.
All the indications so far suggest the Glasgow organisers are on course to deliver a first-class Games that will showcase the city to the rest of world. Commonwealth Secretary-general Kamalesh Sharma this week declared Glasgow is more than ready. Many of the 14 venues, including the Tollcross pool and the spectacular new Sir Chris Hoy velodrome and multi-sports complex in the east end of the city are already complete and in use, allowing snags to be fixed and generating a huge sense of anticipation a year before the opening ceremony.
Yesterday's scramble for tickets is a sign of just how much excitement there is. Last year's London Olympics whetted the appetite (we shall not dwell on their much more serious ticketing troubles) and Scots fans are clamouring for a taste of top class action closer to home.
One million tickets are up for grabs: that's a lot of seats to fill. But it now looks certain that all the events will take place in front of packed, enthusiastic crowds. Delays when applying for a ticket should be a small price to pay for everyone who is looking forward to the 11 days of competition next summer.
The advice from the organisers is to keep trying, even if it feels like a marathon not a sprint. They insist the system is simple and fair and they are confident that all those hoping for tickets will be able to apply before the September 16 deadline. That, of course, is when the 2014 ticket lottery really begins. Never mind the wait to apply, the real frustration will be felt by unlucky fans who miss out on the tickets they'd hoped for.
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