From the beats of Bhangra to the power-packed performance of ‘Apache Indian,’ it was a carnivalesque atmosphere at the refurbished Alexander Stadium here, as a dazzling closing ceremony brought the curtains down on the high-octane edition of the 2022 Commonwealth Games. More than 4,500 athletes competed from 72 countries over the past 11 days. India finished with 61 medals, five less than their tally four years ago at Gold Coast.
As per tradition, the flag of the Commonwealth Games Federation was lowered to officially mark the end of the Birmingham Games and handed over to the state of Victoria, Australia, the host of the next edition of the Commonwealth Games in 2026. Prince Edward “proclaimed Birmingham 2022 closed” and made a formal invitation to the Australian state of Victoria for the 2026 Commonwealth Games. “You have inspired us and hopefully the future generations. You have demonstrated what unites us. On behalf of the Majesty of the Queen, our patron, and in the name of the Commonwealth Games Federation, I proclaim Birmingham 2022 closed,” he said, as fireworks lit up the Birmingham sky.
‘Apache Indian’, Bhangra set up the tempo
Indian-origin Steven Kapur, a singer-songwriter and a reggae DJ, popularly known as ‘Apache Indian’ delivered a power-packed performance, belting out chartbusters ‘Boom Shack-A-Lak’, ‘Pass the Dutchie’ and ‘Red Red Wine’ to celebrate sound system culture of the city. It was followed by model-cum-activist Neelam Gill, who was driven in a yellow MG, while Punjabi MC played out ‘Mundiyan To Bach Ke’ to a packed stadium, celebrating Birmingham daytimers’ culture — the 80s and 90s cultural phenomenon. There were 20 musical performances, which included musical legends Goldie and Beverley Knight collaborating on the iconic ‘Inner City Life’ in a tribute to Wolverhampton’s pioneering role in rave culture and 80s street art.
India’s flagbearers at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony
Transgender British model Talulah Eve paid homage to the new romantic era and Birmingham queer culture, while current Birmingham superstars Raza Hussain, Mahalia, Jaykae and Ash gave a performance “Looking to the future.” The musical show was followed by farewell speeches by President of the Commonwealth Games Federation Dame Louise Martin and Birmingham 2022 CEO Martin Green, among others. “The closing ceremony was a true celebration of an outstanding Commonwealth Games and showcased the best of Birmingham, the country and the Commonwealth,” Martin said. “We have witnessed an incredible showcase of Commonwealth sport across 11 fantastic days and the closing ceremony provided a wonderful conclusion to the special competition,” Martin added.
Low-key presence of Indian athletes
Star female boxer Nikhat Zareen and veteran table tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal led the sparsely populated Indian contingent, who walked into the stadium for the closing ceremony in tandem with the Pakistani athletes and officials. As soon as they entered, Panjabi MC blasted their hit number ‘Mundian To Bach Ke’ with a performance by Lions of Punjab, a Midlands-based Punjab Bhangra dance group, with over 85 years of history.