1. ITV Report

Wales gets ready for London 2012 opening ceremony

Cardiff will host a big screen in the city centre showing the opening ceremony Photo: ITV News Wales

With the London 2012 opening ceremony taking place today, thousands of people across Wales are gearing up to celebrate the occasion.

Church bells across the UK, including in Wrexham and Merthyr Tydfil, will chime at exactly 8.12am to ring in the Games as part of Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed's project 'All the Bells'.

When the clock strikes 8.12, All Saints Church in Gresford, Wrexham and St. Tydfils Church in Merthyr will join in with churches around the UK to ring their bells as loudly as possible for three minutes. They'll join London's Big Ben, which will sound more than 40 times for three minutes.

In Cardiff, a live screening of the London 2012 opening ceremony at the Hayes is expected to attract large crowds.

RAF Red Arrows will fly over the Hayes crowd at exactly 4.12pm to mark the occasion.

Celebrations are also taking place in North Wales. At Colwyn Bay's Parc Eirias, they're celebrating the park's designation as an official community 'live site' for the Games, with a special free concert featuring Only Boys Aloud.

The first event took place at the Millennium Stadium on Wednesday - two days before today's official opening ceremony Credit: ITV News Wales

The Games kicked off with women's football at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Wednesday - two days before the official opening.

Great Britain got off to a solid start, with a second-half goal from full-back Steph Houghton resulting in a 1- 0 win against New Zealand.

Obviously we wanted to go out and get three points and we did that. It was obviously a hard performance for us and they came at us, but in terms of our performance, we're really happy. I think we're just really delighted to start the Olympics off with three points.

– STEPHANIE HOUGHTON, GREAT BRITAIN WOMEN'S FOOTBALL TEAM FULL-BACK

The Millennium Stadium also played host to the Cameroon V Brazil women's football match on Wednesday, as well as the Brazil V Egypt men's game yesterday.

Crowds thronged the streets of the Welsh capital, where visitors spoke of the warm welcome they'd received here.

Despite the city being busy, the empty seats in the stadium were difficult to ignore.

Just over thirty thousand people attended the first event in Cardiff yesterday. Forty thousand had been expected. However, those managing the event said they were pleased with the numbers, calling it an 'excellent result'.

Last night, several Welsh footballers made an impression on Team GB's mens' squad as they kicked off their medal campaign in Old Trafford.

Craig Bellamy scored the first goal against Senegal, but it wasn't enough for captain Ryan Giggs' team to secure victory. The final score was one-all.

Meanwhile some of Britain's top cyclists made their final preparations in Wales yesterday. Sir Chris Hoy and several other members of the track team were at the Newport Velodrome, where hundreds of fans turned up to show their support for the squad.

The £27 million opening ceremony begins at 9pm at the Olympic Stadium. A vast worldwide audience is expected to tune in to watch.

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