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Thursday, August 18, 2022

Birmingham CWG begins with spectacular opening ceremony

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The Commonwealth Games 2022 was declared open on Thursday in a gliterring opening ceremony here at the Alexander Stadium.

Local musical heroes Duran Duran and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi guest-starred on a night which celebrated Birmingham’s industrial heritage and its multicultural tradition, as competitors from the Commonwealth’s 72 nations and territories were cheered into the arena by a 30,000 crowd.

As a tribute to Birmingham’s motor industry history, 72 cars from across five decades have been assembled. From Jaguars to Land Rovers to Mini Coopers – millions of cars have been built in the West Midlands.

Then, The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived, driving into the venue in an Aston Martin as part of a convoy of 72 cars which formed a Union Jack when viewed from above.

Local musical heroes Duran Duran and Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi guest-starred on a night which celebrated Birmingham’s industrial heritage and its multicultural tradition, as competitors from the Commonwealth’s 72 nations and territories were cheered into the arena by a 30,000 crowd.

Next up came the Bards of Brum. They represent some of the City’s most famous exports, including William Shakespeare, composer Edward Elgar, the inventor of the dictionary Samuel Johnson and the 18th-century Lunar Society, the forefathers of modern Birmingham.

The ceremony also featured an appearance from activist Malala Yousafzai. The 25-year-old, who now lives in Birmingham, campaigns and raises funds for girls’ education programmes in her native Pakistan.

Then, the 10 m high raging bull, that took 5 months to build, is pulled along by female chain makers. The bull has shed its armour to symbolise the famous strikes of 1910 when female chain makers went on strike for better conditions – and after 10 weeks they won, earning a new minimum wage that doubled their earnings. The collapsing bull represents the victory of the working classes over their employers.

Next came up the athlete parade, where over 6500 athletes from all 72 countries and territories walked out in front of the crowd for the first time this games.

The athlete parade is led out by Australia, the previous hosts of the Games back in 2018 who have brought their largest ever team to a Games. by countries and territories in alphabetical order, finishing with England as the home nation. The nations from Oceania and Africa have appeared.

Then came India, the host of the 2010 edition.The Indian contingent was led out by two-time Olympic medallist shuttler PV Sindhu and men’s hockey team captain Manpreet Singh.

A huge team of England over 400 athletes entered last as per the norms with “We Will We Will Rock You!” in the background.

Prince Charles then read Queen’s message which left Buckingham Palace on October 7th ahead of its journey via the Commonwealth Baton.

Later he officially declared the 22nd edition of the Games open, with a spectacular fireworks display bringing the ceremony to an end and heralding the start of the world’s first major multi-sport event to take place free of Covid-19 restrictions since the pandemic took hold.

As the ceremony drew to a close, Tom Daley proudly emerged flanked by Pride flags as part of an “historic” statement against homophobia – one of six final torch-bearers to enter the stadium, each of whom represented a different cause or under-represented minority that is closest to their heart.

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