A stroke hasn't been made, a point scored or a bout conducted. Even the Queen's baton has yet to enter Celtic Park for the opening of Glasgow 2014.

But the organisers of the four-yearly extravaganza are already calling the 20th edition the best Commonwealth Games ever.

Prince Edward will open the event tonight in front of Queen Elizabeth and tomorrow the action begins in 12 sports.

However, it has been the lead-up to the Games that has ensured a smooth start and a confidence that Glasgow 2014 will be an outstanding success and could inject some strength into a concept that has had its relevance questioned.

More than a million tickets have been sold for the 17 sports and officials believe only 5 per cent remain at box offices. A 15,000-strong workforce, mostly volunteers, have ensured the lead-up has been uneventful.

The city has been dotted with statues and posters of Clyde the mascot, whose smiling face epitomises the Friendly Games.

Unlike four years ago when New Delhi was beset by delayed preparation and security fears, there have been no complaints about the facilities in Glasgow, many of which were built well before the Games were awarded in 2007.

And a strong army and special police presence is in place despite a lack of threats. Yet, you can never be too careful when it comes to public safety.

When it comes to comparing Glasgow and its Indian predecessor, Commonwealth Games Federation chief executive Mike Hooper said it is "like chalk and cheese".

"Even during our last visit here in March we could see the potential for these to be the best Games ever," he said.

Glasgow could set a high mark for Gold Coast in 2018 and either Edmonton or Durban in 2022 to reach.

Australia could also have an early enjoyment of the Games with Emma Moffat and Emma Jackson strong medal fancies in the opening event, the women's triathlon.

WA's Jessica Pengelly, Sally Hunter and Tommaso D'Orsogna also hit the Tollcross Aquatic Centre pool for heats on Thursday morning.

And Scott Sunderland will target gold in the men's 4km team pursuit later in the evening.

All we need now is for the baton to arrive and let the Games begin.

The West Australian

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