Birmingham Commonwealth Games 2022: When is the opening ceremony featuring Duran Duran? What countries are taking part? What is the schedule? How do I watch on television?

It’s just a matter of days until the opening ceremony of the 22nd Commonwealth Games.

Birmingham is hosting the event for the first time, marking the third time the event has been held in England following London in 1934 and Manchester 2002.

Scotland has also hosted three times, in Edinburgh in 1970 and 1986, and Glasgow in 2014, with Wales’ sole Games in Cardiff in 1958.

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Here’s everything you need to know before the big opening ceremony.

Baton bearer Mikey Akers carries the Queen's Baton during the Birmingham 2022 Queen's Baton Relay at Coventry Cathedral on July 21, 2022.

When do the Commonwealth Games take place?

The Games officially begin in Birmingham with an opening ceremony on Thursday July 28, with the show starting at around 7pm.

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Both it and the closing ceremony, on August 8, will take place at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium,

In between there will be 11 days of sporting action featuring around 6,600 of the world’s finest athletes.

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Who is appearing at the opening ceremony?

A live audience of over 30,000, along with millions around on television, will watch pop legends Duran Duran headline the opening ceremony.

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Other talent to take part will include Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi and vocalists Indigo Marshall and Gambini, under the musical direction of rapper, artist and educator Joshua ‘RTKal’ Holness.

Birmingham Conservatoire graduate and mezzo-soprano Samantha Oxborough will take the prestigious role of performing the National Anthem for the United Kingdom as part of the formal opening of the Games, supported by the celebrated City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under acclaimed conductor Alpesh Chauhan, while musicians from The Royal Marines deliver a rousing trumpet fanfare.

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A massed choir of over 700 voices, comprised of 15 choirs from across the West Midlands will flood the arena, led by Carol Pemberton and Black Voices, one of Europe’s leading female a cappella groups.

Meanwhile, musicians from across the region, representing global musical styles, provide the bed for major theatrical moments throughout the production, including a Call to Gather sequence for the whole Commonwealth, featuring two-time, Grammy-award winning percussionist Lekan Babalola, vocalist Ranjana Ghatak, shawm player Jude Rees, bagpiper Chris Crouch and Djembe player Abraham Paddy Tetteh, with Birmingham-wide Dohl drummers providing a percussive backdrop to stunning visual moments.

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What sports are included, and when will athletes compete in them?

This year, the schedule for the sports included in the Commonwealth Games is as follows:

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Athletics and Para Athletics: Tuesday, August 2–Sunday, August 7

Badminton: Friday, July 29–Monday, August 8

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Basketball and Wheelchair Basketball: Friday, July 29–Tuesday, August 2

Beach Volleyball: Saturday, July 30–Sunday, August 7

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Boxing: Friday, July 29–Thursday, August 4, Saturday, August 6–Sunday, August 7

Cricket: Friday, July 29--Sunday, July 31, Tuesday, August 2–Thursday, August 4, Saturday, August 6–Sunday, August 7

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Cycling– Mountain Bike: Wednesday, August 3

C ycling–Road Race: Sunday, August 7

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Cycling–Time Trial: Thursday, August 4

Cycling–Track & Para Track: Friday, July 29–Monday, August 1

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Diving: Thursday, August 4–Monday, August 8

Gymnastics–Artistic: Friday, July 29–Tuesday, August 2

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Gymnastics–Rhythmic: Thursday, August 4–Saturday, August 6

Hockey: Friday, July29–Monday, August 8

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Judo: Monday, August 1–Wednesday, August 3

Lawn Bowls and Para Lawn Bowls: Friday, July 29–Saturday, August 6

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Marathon: Saturday, July 30

Netball: Friday, July 29–Sunday, August 7

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Para Powerlifting: Thursday, August 4

Rugby Sevens: Friday, July 29–Sunday, July 31

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Squash: Friday, July 29–Monday, August 8

Swimming and Para Swimming: Friday, July 29–Wednesday, August 3

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Table Tennis and Para Table Tennis: Friday, July 29–Monday, August 8

Triathlon and Para Triathlon: Friday, July 29, Sunday, July 31

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Weightlifting: Saturday, July 30–Wednesday, August 3

Wrestling: Friday, August 5–Saturday, August 6

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How do I watch on television?

The BBC will be offering free live coverage of the Commonwealth Games throughout the competition onBBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, via the Red Button, and on iPlayer.

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The presenting and commentating team include Olympic gold medallists Michael Johnson and Jessica Ennis-Hill, along with Commonwealth champions Max Whitlock and Beth Tweddle.

What countries are taking part?

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In total of 72 teams will take part in this year’s Games, comprising 54 countries and 18 territories.

Only five countries have competed in every edition of the Games since 1930 – Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Scotland and Wales.

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The countries and territories taking part are:

Anguilla

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Antigua & Barbuda

Australia

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Bahamas

Bangladesh

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Barbados

Belize

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Bermuda

Botswana

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British Virgin Islands

Brunei Darussalam

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Cameroon

Canada

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Cayman Islands

Cook Islands

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Cyprus

Dominica

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England

Eswatini

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Falkland Islands

Fiji

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Gambia

Ghana

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Gibraltar

Grenada

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Guernsey

Guyana

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India

Isle of Man

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Jamaica

Jersey

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Kenya

Kiribati

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Lesotho

Malawi

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Malaysia

Maldives

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Malta

Mauritius

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Montserrat

Mozambique

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Namibia

Nauru

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New Zealand

Nigeria

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Niue

Norfolk Island

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Northern Ireland

Pakistan

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Papua New Guinea

Rwanda

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Samoa

Scotland

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Seychelles

Sierra Leone

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Singapore

Solomon Islands

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South Africa

Sri Lanka

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St Helena

St Kitts & Nevis

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St Lucia

St Vincent & The Grenadines

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Tanzania

Tonga

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Trinidad & Tobago

Turks & Caicos Islands

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Tuvalu

Uganda

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Vanuatu

Wales

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Zambia