The 2022 Commonwealth Games officially began on 28 July with a spectacular opening ceremony held at Alexander Stadium, Birmingham.
Birmingham’s multicultural history took centre stage as 30,000 spectators enjoyed a two-and-a-half-hour show, featuring the athletes’ parade, a selection of local musical legends, culminating in a performance by Duran Duran.
The ceremony sent a hopeful message calling for unity in times of uncertainty, whilst acknowledging the organisation’s turbulent past.
Martin Green, Chief Creative Officer, described the ceremony as a ‘generation-defining show’ representing communion between nations and territories, and displaying Birmingham’s best and brightest.
Stepping in for Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles opened the Games as he read a message from the Queen praising Birmingham’s symbolic rich diversity.
The opening of the Games marked a unique opportunity to highlight the importance of promoting cooperation, peace, better health, equal rights and sustainable development across the Commonwealth’s 56 member countries.
Speaking at the Commonwealth Games, Dr. Shavana Haythornthwaite, Head of the Human Rights Unit at the Commonwealth Secretariat said:
“Commonwealth member countries have acknowledged the important contribution that sports and physical activity can make to improving wellbeing and healthy lifestyles, socio-economic development, and helping to build just and peaceful societies.
“The inclusion of international human rights principles and standards in sports policies and frameworks acts as an enabler for core Commonwealth principles of good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
“In this way, the Secretariat’s Human Rights Unit will continue to assist member countries in attaining their international human rights obligations and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai attended the ceremony in a surprise appearance emphasising the importance of equal access to education, while Olympic diver Tom Daley advocated for LGBTQ+ rights and called for equality across all member states.
Sport events will begin on 29 July, with more than 5,000 athletes representing 72 nations and territories competing in 280 medal events until 8 August.