The 22nd edition of the Commonwealth Games began on Thursday with a colourful opening ceremony at the Alexander Stadium amid fanfare in front of an estimated 30,000 spectators, showcasing the very best of Birmingham and the whole of the UK.
The ceremony began at the stadium with drummer-percussionist Abraham Paddy Tetteh, before Indian classical vocalist and composer Ranjana Ghatak took the lead of the section intended to showcase the diversity of the city.
The Birmingham Royal Ballet and Brummie dance group Critical Mass brought to life a dance that signifies the restoration of the city’s iconic library and its famous canals.
Also on display during the magnificent ceremony were the 72 cars from across five decades to form a tribute to Birmingham’s incredible motor industry history.
The Games, set to be the biggest and most expensive sporting event in the UK since the 2012 London Olympics, have had to deal with the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the update from the 2022 Birmingham Twitter handle, the opening ceremony had in attendance Prince Charles as its chief guest as the Queen’s Baton reached the Games village in Birmingham on Wednesday.
The Queen did not attend the Games opening ceremony. Instead, it was Prince Charles and his wife Camilla who attended the official start of the Games in place of Her Majesty, who is patron of the Commonwealth Games Federation and Head of the Commonwealth.
The entire opening ceremony, which lasted for about two and half hours, was created by British screenwriter Steven Knight, who had produced the famous crime drama ‘Peaky Blinders’.
Over 5,000 athletes from over 72 nations and territories are registered for the multi-discipline event and will compete for honours for 12 days of sporting drama and ecstasy.
The Nigerian contingent, made up of 94 athletes, was fully represented in their green and white attire as they danced past the colourful stadium.
This is the third time England is hosting the event, after London in 1934 and Manchester in 2002.
The championship – which started on Thursday and will run until August 8 – will be hosted in 15 venues across the West Midlands at different sporting events, including the famous NEC Arena in Birmingham City Centre and the Coventry Stadium – home to the Wasps rugby team and Coventry City FC.
Pakistani activist for female education and the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Malala Yousafzai, who moved to Birmingham to recover after being shot in the head by the Taliban, welcomed the crowd to her adopted home.