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The 2022 Commonwealth Games kicks off in Birmingham, UK

The Games will kick off on Thursday, July 28 with a spectacular opening ceremony at Alexander Stadium and run until Monday, August 8 and will see athletes from around the Commonwealth compete for gold across a range of sports including athletics, cycling, swimming, netball, diving, basketball and so much more.

The venues being used for the event stretch from Birmingham, Coventry, Solihull, Royal Leamington Spa, Cannock Chase Forest, Sandwell and beyond.

The Commonwealth games logo

Nigerian Athletes. Nigeria is being represented at the Commonwealth Games by 94 athletes who are taking part in Athletics, Boxing, Judo, Table Tenis, weightlifting, Wrestling, para-table tenis, para-athletics and para powerlifting.

The sports men and women representing Nigeria include Adeyemi Sikiru, Alaba Olukunle Akintola, Amarachukwu Obi, Amene Dubem, Amusan Oluwatobiloba, Ella Onojuevwo, Enekwechi Chukwuebuka, Ese Brume, Ezekiel Nathaniel, Favour Ofili, Favour Oghene-Tejiri Ashe, Godson Oke Oghenebrume, Isa Esther, Joy Udo Gabriel, Mike Edwards, Nnamani Jonson, Nnamdi Chinecerem, Nwokocha Grace, Obiageri Amechi, Ojeli Emmanuel, Olatoye Oyesade, Omovoh Knowkedge, Onyekwere Chioma, Orobosa Anabel Frank, Patience Okon George, Raymond Ekevwo, Rosemay Chukwuma, Ruth Usoro, Samson Nathaniel, Seye Ogunlewe, Temitope Adeshina, Tima Godbless and Udodi Chudi Onwuzurike.

Others are ADEYINKA Benson, EGUNJOBI Yetunde, EHWARIEME Innocent, OGUNSEMILORE Cynthia, OSHOBA Elizabeth, OSOBA Abdul-Afeez Osoba, OYEKWERE Ifeanyi, SHOGBAMU Bolanle, UMUNNAKWE Jacinta, ASONYE Joy Oluchi, EDWIN Patrick, JAMES Cecilia Chinyeye, MURITALA Fatai, ALAM Ugochi, EZEJI Kennedy, GALADIMA Suwaibidu, IYIAZI Njideka, NWACHUKWU Goodness. IBRAHIM Abdulazeez, IKECHUKWU Obichukwu, MARK Onyinyechi, NNAMDI Innocent, OLUWAFEMIAYO Folashade, OMOLAYO Bose, THOMAS Kure, TIJANI Latifat, AGUNBIADE Tajudeen, IKPEOYI Ifechukwude, OBAZUAYE Faith, OBIORA Chinenye Faith, OGUNKUNLE Isau, OLUFEMI Alabi Olabiyi, SULE Nasiru, AMADI Omeh, ARUNA Quadri, BELLO Fatima Atinuke, BODE Abiodun, OFFIONG Edem, OJOMO Ajoke , OLAJIDE Adeyemi Omotayo, ORIBAMISE Esther andOSHONAIKE Funke

Also representing Nigeria are EMMANUEL Appah, EZE Joy Ogbonne, ISLAMIYAT Adebukola, OLARINOYE Adijat, OSIJO Mary Taiwo, RABIATU Folashade, STELLA Peters Kingsley, TAIWO Ladi, UMOAFIA Joseph. ADEKUOROYE Mercy, ADEKUOROYE Odunayo, AMAS Daniel, EBIKEWENIMO Welson, EKEREKEME Agiomor, GENESIS Mercy, KOLAWOLE Esther, OBORODUDU Blessing, OGBONNA Emmanuel John andREUBEN Hannah

A Commonwealth with less in common

Once all the duels are done and the medals dished out though, the biggest question will be whether Birmingham – Europe’s youngest city with nearly 40% of its population aged 25 or under – has injected new life into an old concept.

The Commonwealth Games began life in 1930 as the British Empire Games. Now, the legacy of Britain’s Victorian-era expansion and exploitation is coming under scrutiny.

In March, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were warmly welcomed to Jamaica, which celebrates 60 years of independence on 6 August, by Fraser-Pryce and double Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah. But the country’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness was clear that he wants to remove the Queen as head of state. And soon.

The sounds of protest mixed with welcome during that royal visit. It could continue during the Games. In contrast to the Olympics, Organisers have given athletes the freedom to “make positive expressions of their values” on the field of play and podium.

In the years since 1930, the Commonwealth and the Games have evolved into something different and distinct from Empire. Competing in Birmingham, will be athletes from Rwanda and Mozambique, two nations that were never part of the Empire.

A 65-strong Barbados team will take part in their first Commonwealth Games since the Caribbean nation replaced the Queen as its head of state in 2020.

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston accepts that the world around the Commonwealth Games is changing, but says their relevance endures. “The Commonwealth still has resonance and value, particularly in a diverse city like Birmingham where there’s a lot of people who have come from the Commonwealth,” he said.

“It does have meaning. It might not be what it was in the past, but it’s evolving and changing, and that focus on values and what can unite us is key.”

The Games will need to keep evolving, not just to out-run history, but also to keep pace with the present. The first Games, staged in Hamilton, Canada, promised to be “free from the excessive stimulus and the babel [sic] of the international stadium”.

“They should be merrier and less stern, and will substitute the stimulus of novel adventure for the pressure of international rivalry,” added the mission statement. 

Space in the sporting calendar is more squeezed now than it was a century ago though – the World Athletics Championships finished on Sunday, the cricket season is in full swing and the Premier League football season starts on 5 August.

Is there still room for “merry” sport when grudges and spats sell seats and subscriptions? Can any stimulus be “excessive” in a world of competing bells, whistles and screens? Birmingham will need all its verve and energy and every star to shine bright. If it does, then it could prove there is still a place for a curious, and unique slice of sporting competition.

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