Birmingham: (Left) Bhangra dance group ‘The Lions of Punjab’ performs as fireworks erupt over the Alexander Stadium during the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on Monday; and, the Games’ flag is handed to the governor of Victoria, Australia, the host of the 2026 Games.—AFP / Reuters
Birmingham: (Left) Bhangra dance group ‘The Lions of Punjab’ performs as fireworks erupt over the Alexander Stadium during the closing ceremony of the Commonwealth Games on Monday; and, the Games’ flag is handed to the governor of Victoria, Australia, the host of the 2026 Games.—AFP / Reuters

BIRMINGHAM: Compe­titions at the 2022 Common­wealth Games came to a close on Monday with Birmi­ng­ham closing the 12-day sporting extravaganza with an impressive production celebrating the musical heritage of England’s West Midlands region.

The closing ceremony was held at the Alexander Stadium with performances from artists including Apache Indian, Beverley Knight, Dexys Midnight Runners, Goldie, Jacob Banks, Jaykae and Jorja Smith.

Australia topped the medals table with 67 golds — 10 ahead of England. Canada are third with 26 golds and India have 22. Pakistan ended with two golds — won by weightlifter Nooh Dastagir Butt and javelin thrower Arshad Nadeem. The country also bagged three silver and three bronze medals.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Games had been a “shining example” of the power of sport in “strengthening the ties between our unique partnership of Commonwealth nations”.

He praised Birmingham for being “fantastic first-time hosts” and “cementing the UK’s well-deserved reputation for hosting major sporting events on the global stage”.

He also thanked the volunteers, the crowds and the athletes for making the Games “the best yet”.

Johnson added that the success of Birmingham 2022 “will be measured not only in medals won or records broken but also by the number of people inspired to take up sport as a result and who will be able to, thanks to this government’s massive investment in grassroots sport in recent years”.”

The closing ceremony also included a formal handover to Australia’s state of Victoria, which is hosting the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

Published in Dawn, August 9th, 2022

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