Birmingham bids farewell to Commonwealth Games 2022 with brilliant closing ceremony

birminghamcg22 twitter Closing ceremony CWG 2022 photo

Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, declared the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham over (Twitter/birminghamcg22)

Photo: Twitter

Legendary Black Sabbath frontman Ozzy Osbourne brought down the curtain on the Commonwealth Games in spectacular style on Monday as dominant Australia celebrated once again topping the medals table.
Athletes flocked to Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium for a closing party which also featured UB40, Dexys and a tribute to Peaky Blinders, the worldwide hit TV show about the city’s most notorious gang.

Birmingham-born Osbourne, known as the “Prince of Darkness,” brought the ceremony to a head after he turned up as a surprise act.

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Celebrating Birmingham’s rise from the ruins of World War II and its rise into a diverse and vibrant modern city, the show brought 11 days of sporting action to a close.

Previously, six-time defending champions Australia ended their campaign in style by beating India 7-0 in the men’s ice hockey final and earning 67 gold overall.

Hosts England finished second with 57 gold medals, ahead of Canada with 26 and India with 22, with parasports included in the medal list.

Sporting powerhouse Australia have topped the table at every game since 1990 save for 2014 when England finished first in Glasgow.

Australia ice hockey captain Aran Zalewski said winning the Commonwealth Games title was “tougher than you think”.

“We’ve won seven but it’s not that easy to come out here and win,” he said.

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“There are so many challenges to winning a hockey tournament.

“Ending with such a special performance, really clinical, was very nice.”

Elsewhere on Monday, Scots James Heatly and Grace Reid won the mixed synchronized 3m springboard final, while England pair Noah Williams and Andrea Spendolini-Sirieix took gold in the 10m event.

India celebrated a golden double in badminton.

World number seven PV Sindhu won the women’s singles, defeating Canada’s Michelle Li, while Lakshya Sen defeated Malaysia’s Ng Tze Yong to win the men’s gold.
India’s Sharath Kamal Achanta defeated England’s Liam Pitchford 4-1 in the men’s singles gold medal table tennis match.

“The best two weeks of my 40-year life,” said the winner, who won three golds and one silver in Birmingham. “It can’t get any better.”

Birmingham on the map

Birmingham 2022 CEO Ian Reid previously said in a briefing that the Games had given a huge boost to the city and surrounding area.

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He said more than 1.5 million tickets had been sold, with most venues at over 90 percent capacity.

“One of the goals from the start was to put the city on the world map and instill that great pride in everyone who lives in the area, and I think we’ve achieved that,” he said.

“I think this can lead to much bigger and bigger things.”

Katie Sadleir, CEO of the Commonwealth Games Federation, said there was “a lot of commitment” to the games around the world.

She added that a number of countries have expressed interest in hosting future Commonwealth Games, including African nations.

She said Birmingham, which already had many facilities, could be a blueprint for the future.

“It’s definitely not something we want people to spend huge amounts of money and capital investments when it’s not needed and desired by the long-term plans for the country,” she said.

The Birmingham Games made history by being the first to award more medals to women than men.

Australian swimming legend Emma McKeon became the most decorated athlete in Commonwealth Games history with 20 medals – including six golds in Birmingham.

And the tiny island of Niue won its first-ever Commonwealth Games medal, bronze in boxing for Duken Tutakitoa-Williams.

Commonwealth Games Federation President Louise Martin presented the flag to Linda Dessau, the governor of the Australian state of Victoria, which will host the 2026 Games.

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Martin said Birmingham put on an event “like we’ve never seen before”.

“We come from one of the most challenging times in modern history, where the Covid-19 pandemic has kept us apart,” she said.

“Birmingham 2022 was a special moment as we met again as the power of sport to connect us clearly came into focus.”

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