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Birmingham sparkles as the Commonwealth Games opens up to Duran Duran strains

#Birmingham #sparkles #Commonwealth #Games #opens #Duran #Duran #strains

British pop giants Duran Duran headlined a glamorous opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Thursday as more than 5,000 athletes prepared for the fight.

Competitors from 72 nations and territories, many of which are former British colonies, will compete for medals in 19 sports over a packed 11 days in the English Midlands.

The opening ceremony at the redesigned Alexanderstadion paid tribute to the city’s industrial heritage and celebrated the diversity of its modern make-up.

Prince Charles arrived with his wife Camilla in his personal Aston Martin during a session highlighting Birmingham’s rich engine manufacturing history.

Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, who moved to the city at 15 after surviving an assassination attempt by the Pakistani Taliban, said every child deserves the chance to “realize their wildest dreams”.

Prince Charles declared the games open as Duran Duran opened the party before fireworks across the city.

– Pool Power Australia –

Away from the marquee athletics and swimming events, women’s Twenty20 cricket will make its debut at the 22nd Games and 3×3 basketball will make its debut.

Some events in Birmingham have an integrated parasports programme, substituting for the South African city of Durban, which was originally chosen to host the Games.

Sporting powerhouse Australia have topped the medal tally at every game since 1990, save for 2014 when England finished first in Glasgow – the last time the event was held on British soil.

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland compete as separate teams rather than a combined British team during the Commonwealths.

In the pool, Emma McKeon, Ariarne Titmus, Kaylee McKeown and teenage sensation Mollie O’Callaghan will lead the charge for a star-studded Australian team when the competition begins on Friday.

Two-time Olympic champion Titmus, 21, skipped the recent World Championships in Budapest to keep fresh for Birmingham.

The 28-year-old McKeon, who won seven medals – including four golds – at last year’s Tokyo Olympics, has a phenomenal record at the Commonwealth Games with eight golds and four bronzes in two appearances.

Headlining for England will be breaststroke superstar Adam Peaty, who missed Budapest with a foot injury, denying him a chance to win his fourth consecutive 50-100m world double.

Peaty, 27, is determined to break his own 100m world record of 56.88 seconds.

“I wouldn’t be swimming now if I knew I couldn’t break another world record,” he said. “It’s just not enough for me to stay in the sport and win and win and win.”

– calendar collision –

The Commonwealth Games follow the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon, which ended on Sunday.

Worlds were postponed from last year after the coronavirus pandemic forced a delay to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but that has caused headaches for athletes in a packed schedule.

Olympic champions Andre De Grasse, Kirani James and Neeraj Chopra are absent from Birmingham.

Jamaican sprint star Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, who won a fifth 100-meter world title in Oregon, will also be absent.

Shericka Jackson and Elaine Thompson-Herah, who finished second and third in the 100m at Eugene, have been called up to Jamaica’s team, although there are doubts as to whether multiple Olympic gold medalist Thompson-Herah will travel.

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

Scotsman Jake Wightman, who shocked Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen by winning gold in the 1500m in the United States, will also be a big draw.

The relevance of the four-yearly Commonwealth Games – first held in 1930 as the British Empire Games – has come under scrutiny, with lingering questions about Britain’s colonial legacy.

Several Commonwealth countries, including Barbados and Jamaica, have either removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state or signaled their intention to do so.

However, UK Sport Minister Nigel Huddleston insists the event still has a place in the sporting landscape.

“The Commonwealth still has resonance and value, especially in a diverse city like Birmingham where a lot of people come from the Commonwealth,” he said ahead of the Games.

“It has meaning,” he said. “It may not be what it was in the past, but it’s evolving and changing, and that focus on values ​​and what can unite us is key.”

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#Birmingham #sparkles #Commonwealth #Games #opens #Duran #Duran #strains

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