Prince Charles drives Aston Martin and Malala inspires as Commonwealth Games kick off with vibrant opening ceremony
THE 2022 Commonwealth Games has been officially launched by a stunning opening ceremony in Birmingham.
Fans at the second city’s Alexander Stadium have been treated to an epic show devised by Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight alongside artistic director Iqbal Khan.
Those in attendance will be introduced to the 5,000 athletes from 72 nations that have descended upon Birmingham with glory in their sights.
There will be 283 medals across 19 sports up for grabs across 11 thrilling days in Brum.
The show, which follows the narrative of young athletes Stella and the Dreamers, began with dancers performing a call to gather, as Birmingham landmarks including the Bullring and Old Joe were celebrated.
A montage celebrating Queen Elizabeth was then featured, as head of the Commonwealth.
With Her Majesty not in attendance, it was left to Prince Charles to open the Games.
He arrived alongside the Duchess of Cornwall in his favourite 1970 Aston Martin.
Samantha Oxborough then performed a rendition of God Save the Queen accompanied by a 700-strong choir and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.
Former Nobel Peace prize laureate Malala Yousafzai was given a rousing reception from the crowd as she delivered an inspiring speech about her experiences growing up in Birmingham – while celebrating its diversity.
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Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi, 74, then performed a guitar solo while dancers from the Birmingham Royal Ballet performed to pay tribute to Irish workers that played such an enormous role in building the city’s canals.
The show’s hero Stella then tamed a huge, terrifying electronic bull with the offer of friendship – leaving its shackles behind.
Before dancers and musicians from a number of Birmingham’s diverse communities came together for a colourful display.
Superstars including Laura Kenny, Mark Cavendish, Geraint Thomas, Adam Peaty and Katarina Johnson-Thompson are among those taking part in the Games.
While some new heroes will also emerge over the course of the next week and a half.
Not least because we have some new sports to watch out for.
Women’s T20 cricket, 3×3 basketball and 3×3 wheelchair basketball all make their Games debuts this time around in Birmingham.
There will also be the added element of Team GB team-mates battling AGAINST each other for medals.
That’s because England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all compete separately in the Commonwealth Games.
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