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Tales from Birmingham: A day at the 2022 Commonwealth Games

February 27, 2023
August 24, 2022
4 mins read
Adeteju Adeleye
Adeteju Adeleye
People and Culture Manager

Editor's note:

It’s been a busy quarter.

My name is Adeteju, the People and Culture Manager at Kora, and in July, I visited Birmingham to see the new Kora office and scored an invite to the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games happening in the same city.

But I’m not here to brag about how cool my job is. I’m here to tell you all about how iconic the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony was.

I was on this trip with Kora’s COO, Gideon. We headed to the Alexander Stadium on Thursday 28th, July, for the spectacular opening ceremony.

Source: Birmingham Live

It was a long walk to the stadium but worth the sight. Almost every part of the city had a Commonwealth Games banner, billboard or signage.

We finally arrived at the stadium! There was a lot of security protocol (as expected).

That’s me on the right. Gideon is on the left.

Inside the stadium, the energy is unreal! There was dancing, singing and stunts. It was obvious that the organisers took diversity, culture and identity seriously. There were so many people from very diverse backgrounds. I loved it.

One cool activity was when Birmingham’s car-manufacturing industry had dozens of automobiles of different stripes and shades enter the main arena. The last car was driven by Prince Charles, with his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

Then there was a stirring rendition of the God Save The Queen anthem accompanied by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and a choir of 700 people. That’s right, 700!

The Bull of Birmingham

This was an exciting part of Birmingham’s history, apparently. The opening ceremony started with a story of Stella and The Dreamers, who explored Birmingham’s rich culture, diverse history and identity.

Malala Yousafzai

It was lovely getting a welcome address from Malala. Fun fact; Malala moved to Birmingham to recover after being shot in the head by the Taliban.

Source: The Guardian
Athlete’s parade

Source: The BBC

Finally, just the moment I’d been waiting for! First out of the pack was team Australia. I couldn’t wait for team Nigeria. It was a proud moment as the Nigerian team and other African countries graced us with their presence.

The Queen’s Baton

The Queen’s baton concluded as it was handed over from athlete to athlete and passed to Denise Lewis (a track and field athlete from England), who gave it to Dame Louise Martin (the president of the Commonwealth Games).

Source: Inside the games

Dame Louise opened the baton, removed the Queen’s and handed it to Prince Charles, who read the Queen’s letter. The Queen said;

“Over the years, the coming together of so many at the friendly games has created memorable shared experiences, established long-standing relationships, and even created some friendly rivalries, but above all, it reminds us of our connection with one another wherever we may be in the world, as part of the Commonwealth family of nations.”

The Queen’s message ended with good wishes to the athletes.

“I wish each athlete every success, and your hard work and dedication, particularly in recent times, have been an inspiration to all of us.”

With that, Prince Charles officially declared the Games open!

Hold on! I heard a direct message from Queen Elizabeth II, as in the Queen of England. Amazing!

P.s: We held the Queen’s baton in May when our COO (Gideon) represented Kora at the Queen’s Baton relay Commonwealth Games in Toronto.

Whew! honestly, it was a phenomenal experience attending the 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony.

Congratulations, team Nigeria! Thirty-five medals was indeed a significant achievement.