It’s been an action-packed summer for sport in the UK already. From Djokovic winning his seventh Wimbledon title to England scoring in fine form at Women’s Euros, there’s been plenty to root for. Celebrations are set to only increase as the Commonwealth Games launches in Birmingham on July 28, running until August 8. It’s been four years since the last games in the Gold Coast, Australia and while the world has drastically changed since then, don’t expect this to be a toned down affair. Five extra sports have been added to the ten core events this year. Meaning there are plenty more chances of winning and plenty more opportunities to celebrate. So whether it’s table tennis you’re into or you’re more of a wrestling fan, here are five ways you can celebrate the Commonwealth Games coming to Birmingham.
1. Follow the Queen’s Baton Relay
The Queen’s Baton Relay began way back in October. Starting an epic 294-day long journey that saw it touch base in all 72 nations and territories competing. Luckily for us, the baton has been in the UK since July, so there’s no need to book those flights just yet! Having made the trip around the country, the baton has been winding its way around the West Midlands since July 18 and will slowly make its way to Birmingham city centre on July 28. There’s no excuse then not to take to the street and cheer on one of the many final baton bearers carrying it to the finish line. To tell if it will be passing you soon see here.
2. Grab a ticket for the opening ceremony and games
What better way to celebrate than to catch this once-in-a-lifetime event kick off in the city in person. Something the whole city will talk about for years to come. If that’s not enough to convince you, then Birmingham’s very own Duran Duran will be headlining at the Alexander Stadium, with Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi also due to make an appearance. Of course, tickets are selling fast and a tad pricey for some. But there are plenty of sporting events around the West Midlands to get down to. In fact many of the outdoor running and cycling events are completely free to attend.
3. Join a sports club
Most of those competing at the Commonwealth Games will be dreaming of gold. Many of us, meanwhile, are simply hoping to drag ourselves off the sofa and get a bit of exercise in before bedtime. Let these games be the inspiration then to get yourself down to one of Birmingham’s many sporting facilities and pick up that sport you’ve always dreamed of doing. Be it at the Windmill Amateur Boxing Club or the Bears Badminton Club, follow in the footsteps of your sporting heroes and get stuck in.
4. Get involved with Birmingham 2022 festival
To coincide with the Commonwealth Games, Birmingham has been running a six-month celebration of artistic events to uplift the creative spirit. Not everything is sport related, but Jaskirt Boora’s People, Place and Sport exhibition is definitely worth checking out and runs until August 31 . Through a series of portraits and recordings, she explores gender roles and ethnicity at eight local sites across Birmingham and Sandwell. Other exhibitions include a look at how the British empire has shaped Birmingham’s past and future, the city’s unique history with cinema, and a celebration of local transport.
5. Organise a Commonwealth party
Not everyone will be lucky enough to catch live one of the many heart-racing sporting events on offer. There’s still plenty of opportunity to watch, however. Thanks to the BBC, all the thrills, spills and chills can be seen from the comfort of your home. It will be showing over 200 hours of coverage so you don’t miss a single piece of action. So invite your friends and neighbours over, get dressed up, pop out the snacks and cheer along until your voices are gone.