Commonwealth Games opening ceremony live updates: Birmingham welcomes thousands of sport’s biggest names.

“On October 7 last year, this specially created baton left Buckingham Palace to travel across the Commonwealth. Over the past 294 days it has carried not only my message to you, but also the shared hopes and dreams of each nation and territory through which it has passed as it made its way to Birmingham.

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

“Tonight, in the words of the founder of the games, we embark once again on a novel adventure here in Birmingham. A pioneering city which was drawn in and embraced so many throughout its history. It is a city symbolic of the rich diversity and unity of the Commonwealth. And one which now welcomes you all in friendship.

“My warmest thanks go to all those who have worked so hard to ensure the success of this particularly special sporting event. And I wish each athlete and team the best of luck. Your dedication particularly in recent times have been an inspiration to all of us .

“It now gives me the greatest pleasure to declare the 22nd Commonwealth Games open.”

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