With the exception of an interruption during World War II, the Commonwealth Games have taken place every four years since 1930 – and athletes from 72 nations are heading to the showpiece in Birmingham in 2022.
There will be 286 sessions across 11 days in the UK city, covering 19 sports from 3×3 basketball to mixed synchronised diving.
The Maldives is the newest entrant on the countries list, taking on the runaway most successful country in the history of the Games, Australia, as well as hosts England and the likes of Canada, India and Kenya.
The Sporting News looks at some of the key details involved in one of the most anticipated sporting spectacles of the summer.
Where are the 2022 Commonwealth Games?
When it first formulated its bidding route in 2016, Birmingham, England had been targeting the 2026 Games. That changed when Durban, South Africa was stripped of the showpiece in March 2017 after failing to meet financial deadlines.
Liverpool also expressed an interest, and the UK government decided to back the Birmingham bid, which hit a hitch when the federation behind the Games declared its plan “not fully compliant” and extended a deadline for potential rival bids.
The West Midlands city eventually triumphed, winning praise for the diversity of a local population containing people originating from all of the Commonwealth member federations.
There are 16 venues hosting events, including flagship setting the Alexander Stadium in Perry Barr, which will have a capacity of around 30,000 thanks to temporary seating and has been renovated at a cost of £72 million ($87.8 million).
The arena in nearby city Coventry will host judo and wrestling, and the glorious Cannock Chase Forest is a picturesque backdrop for cycling.
The Sandwell Aquatics Centre will put on the pool events, and the iconic Edgbaston Stadium – best known as the home of Warwickshire – will welcome T20 cricket.
When is the 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony and Closing Ceremony?
Up to a billion people are expected to tune in when the opening ceremony takes place at a full-capacity Alexander Stadium on July 28, overseen by Games Creative Director Iqbal Khan.
The ceremony will take place 10 years and a day after the opening of the London 2012 Olympic Games, with two-time British Academy of Film and Television Arts award-winner Hamish Hamilton as broadcast director.
Steven Knight, the creator of hit Birmingham-set TV series Peaky Blinders, is also part of a team featuring award-winning writer Maeve Clarke and rapper Joshua ‘RTKal’ Holness.
Alexander Stadium will also host the closing ceremony on August 8, which is being described as an “emotional and exciting” event honouring international sport and “the pride and passion that comes with representing one’s country”.
Games chief creative officer Martin Green has promised CGI, special effects and more. “The core creative team assembled to imagine the Opening Ceremony is drawn from a diverse range of disciplines, from theatre to literature, TV to stage production,” he said.
Which new sports are in the 2022 Commonwealth Games?
Women’s T20 Cricket is one of three new sports blazing a Commonwealth Games trail in Birmingham, which has the perfect venue in Edgbaston, a stadium with a history stretching all the way back to 1882.
“It’s massively exciting for women’s cricket to get an opportunity like this at Birmingham 2022,” said England all-rounder Nat Sciver, speaking after the addition of her sport was announced.
“We are always looking to grow cricket and to take it to as many people as possible and the platform of Birmingham 2022 will really help that.”
While cricket has a long and fascinating history in the area, beach volleyball is less readily associated with the urbanity of Birmingham, which should make its presence at the Games a compelling novelty.
The sport will have a home at the Smithfield Market site, which was originally opened on the site of a demolished manor house in 1817 and cleared 101 years later as part of a £1.9 billion ($2.3 billion) regeneration project.
Smithfield will also host the basketball 3×3 competitions and seat up to 4,000 spectators, and another new sport, para table tennis, will take place at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC).
The 71 Commonwealth Games Associations voted by the required majority to accept the proposal for the three new sports in 2019, and one interesting consequence will see two more women’s medal events than men’s at the Games – breaking the record set at Gold Coast 2018.
MADE IN BIRMINGHAM. 🥇 🥈 🥉
Introducing the medals that will be awarded to athletes at #B2022 this summer.
Designed by local students and manufactured in the Jewellery Quarter, our medals are inspired by the roads and canals that link our city and region. pic.twitter.com/Oe3IvmskBd
— Birmingham 2022 (@birminghamcg22) May 4, 2022
Are there any para events in the 2022 Commonwealth Games?
The inclusion of para table tennis gives the Games more para sports than any previous Commonwealth Games, featuring eight para sports in total.
Para powerlifting will also take place at the NEC, and para track events will take place at the Lee Valley Velopark – the London velodrome that staged the 2012 Olympic track cycling competition.
The 19th-century Victoria Park, which is in the town of Leamington Spa and hosts the Bowls England National Championships, will be the setting for para lawn bowls, and the 2,400-acre Sutton Park puts on the triathlon events.
Team England star Ross Wilson is understandably thrilled about the inclusion of table tennis, calling it “brilliant” and looking ahead to a defence of his 2018 title which he expects to be “special” in front of a home crowd.
“Competing for Team England on the Gold Coast was an incredible experience and I’m really proud to be Commonwealth champion,” said Wilson, a triple bronze medallist at the Paralympic Games.
“It is something I’ve always dreamed of and to go out and win was just an absolutely amazing feeling and one I can’t really describe.”
2022 Commonwealth Games full event schedule
|Athletics – Marathon||July 30|
|Athletics & Para Athletics||August 2-7|
|Aquatics – Swimming & Para Swimming||July 29 – August 3|
|Aquatics – Diving||August 4-8|
|Badminton||July 29 – August 8|
|Basketball 3×3 & Wheelchair Basketball 3×3||July 29 – August 2|
|Beach Volleyball||July 30 – August 7|
|Boxing||July 29 – August 4; 6-7|
|Cricket||July 29-31; August 2-4; 6-7|
|Cycling – Mountain Bike||August 3|
|Cycling – Road Race||August 7|
|Cycling – Time Trial||August 4|
|Cycling – Track & Para Track||July 29 – August 1|
|Gymnastics – Artistic||July 29 – August 2|
|Gymnastics – Rhythmic||August 4-6|
|Hockey||July 29 – August 8|
|Lawn Bowls & Para Lawn Bowls||July 29 – August 6|
|Netball||July 29 – August 7|
|Para Powerlifting||August 4|
|Rugby Sevens||July 29-31|
|Squash||July 29 – August 8|
|Table Tennis & Para Table Tennis||July 29 – August 8|
|Triathlon & Para Triathlon||July 29, 31|
|Weightlifting||July 30 – August 3|
|Opening Ceremony||July 28|
|Closing Ceremony||August 8|
What TV channel and live stream is the 2022 Commonwealth Games on?
|UK||BBC TV, Radio, iPlayer|
|Canada||DAZN (online only)|
|Australia||Channel 7, 7Plus|
Which countries are taking part in the 2022 Commonwealth Games?
- Antigua and Barbuda
- British Virgin Islands
- Cayman Islands
- Cook Islands
- Falkland Islands
- Isle of Man
- New Zealand
- Norfolk Island
- Northern Ireland
- Papua New Guinea
- Sierra Leone
- Solomon Islands
- South Africa
- Sri Lanka
- St Helena
- St Kitts and Nevis
- St Lucia
- St Vincent and the Grenadines
- The Gambia
- Trinidad and Tobago
- Turks and Caicos Islands
How to buy 2022 Commonwealth Games tickets
Tickets for the Games are now open to the public, starting at £8 (under $10) for children and from £15 (around $18) for adults.
Organisers are advertising the availability of £22 (around $27) tickets for each event, and free viewing is available for the marathon, cycling road race, cycling time trial, triathlon and cycling mountain bike events.
Tickets are available from the official Birmingham 2022 website.