Birmingham sparkles as Commonwealth Video games open to strains of Duran Duran

Duran Duran carry out through the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Video games in Birmingham. Photograph: AFP

BIRMINGHAM: British pop giants Duran Duran headlined a glitzy Commonwealth Video games opening ceremony in Birmingham on Thursday as greater than 5,000 athletes braced for battle.

Rivals from 72 nations and territories, lots of that are former British colonies, will likely be vying for medals in 19 sports activities over a jam-packed 11 days within the English Midlands.

The opening ceremony on the revamped Alexander Stadium paid tribute to the commercial heritage of the town and celebrated the range of its trendy make-up.

Prince Charles arrived along with his spouse Camilla in his private Aston Martin throughout a phase highlighting Birmingham´s wealthy historical past of motor manufacturing.

Nobel Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who moved to the town after surviving a Pakistani Taliban assassination try when she was 15, mentioned each youngster deserves the prospect to “pursue her wildest desires”.

Prince Charles declared the Video games open as Duran Duran obtained the celebration began to a backdrop of fireworks throughout the town.

– Australia pool energy –

Away from the marquee athletics and swimming occasions, ladies´s Twenty20 cricket makes its debut on the twenty second Video games and 3×3 basketball will function for the primary time.

There may be an built-in para sports activities programme in some occasions in Birmingham, which stepped in for the South African metropolis of Durban, initially chosen to host the Video games.

Sporting powerhouse Australia have topped the medals desk at each Video games since 1990 besides in 2014, when England completed prime in Glasgow — the final time the occasion was held on British soil.

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Eire compete as separate groups through the Commonwealths quite than as a mixed British outfit.

Within the pool, Emma McKeon, Ariarne Titmus, Kaylee McKeown and teenage sensation Mollie O´Callaghan will lead the cost for a star-studded Australian group when competitors begins on Friday.

Double Olympic champion Titmus, 21, opted out of the latest world championships in Budapest to maintain herself recent for Birmingham.

McKeon, 28, who gained seven medals — together with 4 golds — eventually 12 months´s Olympics in Tokyo, boasts an exceptional Commonwealth Video games file, with eight gold and 4 bronze medals in two appearances.

Headlining for England will likely be breaststroke celebrity Adam Peaty, who missed Budapest with a foot damage, denying him the prospect to assert his fourth consecutive 50m-100m world double.

Peaty, 27, is set to interrupt his personal 100m world file of 56.88 seconds.

“I wouldn´t be swimming now if I knew I couldn´t break a world file once more,” he mentioned. “It´s simply not sufficient for me to remain within the sport and win and win and win.”

– Calendar conflict –

The Commonwealth Video games come scorching on the heels of the world athletics championships in Eugene, Oregon, which solely completed on Sunday.

The worlds had been rescheduled from final 12 months after the coronavirus pandemic pressured a delay to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics however that has created a headache for athletes in a crowded schedule.

Olympic champions Andre De Grasse, Kirani James and Neeraj Chopra will likely be absent from Birmingham.

Jamaican dash star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who gained a fifth 100m world title in Oregon, can even be lacking.

Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah, who completed second and third within the 100m in Eugene, have been named in Jamaica´s group, although there are doubts over whether or not a number of Olympic champion Thompson-Herah will journey.

Australian excessive jumper Eleanor Patterson and javelin thrower Kelsey-Lee Barber will arrive as newly minted world champions.

Scotland´s Jake Wightman, who shocked Norway´s Jakob Ingebrigtsen to win 1,500m gold in the USA, can even be a giant draw.

The relevance of the quadrennial Commonwealth Video games — first held in 1930 because the British Empire Video games — has come underneath scrutiny, with persistent questions over Britain´s colonial legacy.

A number of Commonwealth nations, together with Barbados and Jamaica, have both eliminated Queen Elizabeth II as head of state or have signalled they intend to take action.

However British sports activities minister Nigel Huddleston is adamant there may be nonetheless a spot for the occasion within the sporting panorama.

“The Commonwealth nonetheless has resonance and worth, significantly in a various metropolis like Birmingham the place there´s lots of people who’ve come from the Commonwealth,” he mentioned within the build-up to the Video games.

“It does have that means,” he mentioned. “It won’t be what it was prior to now however it´s evolving and altering, and that target values and what can unite us is essential.”

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