Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony Live: Latest Updates as 2022 Games Launch in Birmingham

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Ggood evening and welcome to our live coverage of the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony from Birmingham.

As you’d expect, this evening will have a distinctly local flavor, with Peaky Blinders creator Steven Knight producing the show, and bands like Duran Duran and Black Sabbath.

Over the next 11 days, more than 5,000 athletes from 72 countries will compete in 280 events across 19 sports. Cyclist Laura Kenny and swimmer Adam Peaty will be some of the main attractions for the home crowd, as will the recently crowned 100m World Champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce of Jamaica.

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Game organizers say they are on track for record ticket sales for a Commonwealth Games.

We’re on track here today to become the biggest Commonwealth Games in the UK, especially in terms of ticket sales,” said Ian Reid, the director of the local organizing committee.

“We recently caught up with the last edition (on the Gold Coast) and I believe this morning’s report got us pretty close to 1.3 million tickets sold and in the next few days we should have caught up with Glasgow (2014) ticket sales as well .

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“There is definitely a huge appetite in the city. We have one of the biggest sports programs so not every session is sold out, but history would tell us that during the event itself there will be both online and through multiple box offices.

“So we’re very hopeful that we’ll be at or near capacity for most sports.”

Hopes of the host country’s medals were dashed on Wednesday when sprinter Dina Asher-Smith withdrew from the Games.

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Asher-Smith had broken her British record last week by finishing fourth in the world’s 100m final and winning a bronze medal in the 200m.

But the 26-year-old retired from the 4x100m relay with a hamstring injury that forced her to miss.