BIRMINGHAM: Commonwealth Games 2022 kicked off in a carnival of colour at the Alexander Stadium, Birmingham on Thursday night.
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.
Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall arrived in style, 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.
Charles later 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.
Charles delivered The Queen’s message to the Commonwealth Games. In it, she said the Games “remind us of our connection with one another, wherever we may be in the world, as part of the Commonwealth family of nations”.
The Prince of Wales added: “Tonight, in the words of the founder of the Games, we embark once again on a novel adventure here in Birmingham, a pioneering city which has drawn in and embraced so many throughout its history.
“It is a city symbolic of the rich diversity and unity of the Commonwealth, and one which now welcomes you all in friendship.”
A stunning spectacle also included a Red Arrows fly-past and an appearance from a 10-meter high ‘Raging Bull’, in a section of the ceremony which focused on the plight of female chain-makers in the early 20th century.
More than 5,000 athletes will compete in 280 events across 19 sports in the 10 days coming up, with a para sport program integrated into the Games.
It will also be the first major multi-sport games to award more medals to women than men – 136 and 134.
Other ‘firsts’ for Birmingham’s Games include a Commonwealth debut for women’s T20 cricket and for 3×3 basketball as the Games continues its bid to evolve.
Minister for Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Ehsan-ur-Rehman Mazari also attended the ceremony.
Pakistan’s premier wrestler and two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist Muhammad Inam and the national women’s cricket team skipper Bismah Maroof served as flag-bearers during the opening ceremony.
Pakistan Olympic Association’s (POA) senior vice-president Syed Mohammad Abid Qadir Gillani is the chef de mission of Pakistan’s contingent, while Director General of Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Col (retd) Asif Zaman is serving as deputy chef de mission.
Pakistan contingent is consisted of 103 members. Pakistani athletes are featuring in swimming, athletics, para-athletics, badminton, boxing, women T20 cricket, gymnastics, hockey, judo, squash, table tennis, weightlifting and wrestling.
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